MSCI (NYSE: MSCI), the largest provider of indices for U.S.-listed exchange traded funds, is considering adjustments to one of its Russia indices amid mounting economic sanctions against the country.
The index provider is mulling the removal of VTB Bank from the MSCI Russia Index after the U.S. Treasury Department announced fresh sanctions against VTB Bank OAO, Bank of Moscow and Russian Agricultural Bank.
“MSCI said it was considering the move on concerns that if VTB issues new equity, it could potentially lead to some market participants trading the shares in the secondary market, breaking those sanctions,” reports Dow Jones Newswires.
MSCI is also considering keeping VTB bank in the MSCI Russia Index until the bank issues new shares, according to Dow Jones.
The $288.8 million iShares MSCI Russia Capped ETF (NYSEArca: ERUS), which tracks the MSCI Russia 25 / 50 Index, allocates 3.83% of its weight to VTB Bank, making it the ETF’s ninth-largest holding, according to iShares data.
MSCI has also created the MSCI ACWI ex-Russia Index and MSCI Emerging Markets ex-Russia Index for clients looking to limit exposure to Russian stocks at a time of increased controversy, reports Bloomberg.
Russia currently accounts for about 4.7% of the MSCI Emerging Markets Index, the underlying index for the iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF (NYSEArca: EEM).