Institutional investors continue to embrace exchange traded funds, using the asset class for increasingly refined and tactical applications.
Earlier this year, a study conducted by Greenwich Associates and sponsored by BlackRock (NYSE: BLK), the world’s largest asset manager, 46% of institutional ETF investors surveyed allocate 10% or more of total assets to ETFs with 47% saying they expect to boost ETF usage over the next year.
BlackRock’s iShares unit, the world’s largest ETF issuer, looked at examples of clients using ETFs in a variety of ways, including gaining exposure to previously hard-to-access international markets and tapping robust liquidity with new ETFs.
“Institutional investors today are looking for investment solutions that use iShares ETFs in innovative and new ways to get targeted, bespoke investments with efficiency and simplicity. To ensure a positive ETF investing experience, we take a holistic, soup-to-nuts approach to helping our clients determine the best portfolio solutions and trade execution strategies. This consultative approach yields new solutions that neither the client nor we would have considered individually. And, as a result, the list of ETF uses among different institutions keeps growing,” said Daniel Gamba, head of Americas iShares institutional business at BlackRock, in a statement.
Glovista Investments, which manages $900 million in client assets, primarily for institutional investors, added exposure to the popular iShares MSCI Frontier 100 ETF (NYSEArca: FM) earlier this year and the firm’s experience proves that ETFs can offer robust liquidity even for frontier markets equities, an asset previously viewed as illiquid.
“Glovista worked through their broker on one large block trade of $10 million and the position was executed inside the offer with minimal impact. The liquidity of the ETF, in combination with willingness of market makers to make risk markets, made a trade of this size possible in one large block trade so Glovista could efficiently act on its convictions,” according to BlackRock.
Due to the promotions of Qatar and the United Arab Emirates to emerging markets status, iShares has been gradually reducing FM’s weight to those countries, a move that will also boost sector diversification, decreasing the ETF’s exposure to the financial services sector while increasing its allocations to sectors such as energy and telecommunications. [Changes on the Frontier Could Lead to a Better ETF]
Earlier this year, iShares told ETF Trends it evaluated 20 different scenarios to ensure liquidity and diversity as FM reduced its exposure to Qatar and UAE. That process began in late May and FM has jumped almost 5% in the third quarter.