Alibaba, Baidu Could Find Their Way Into FTSE Indices, ETFs

FTSE Group, one of the largest index providers to sponsors of exchange traded funds, has commenced initial studies into the possibility of including companies with primary listings outside of their home domiciles in FTSE indices.

“The index provider is assessing whether to include companies which trade overseas, but lack a domestic listing, in its global-equity index series,” reports Gregor Stuart Hunter for the Wall Street Journal.

Among the marquee stocks barred from FTSE indices because they are based in one country but have primary listings in another are Chinese Internet giants Alibaba (NYSE: BABA) and Baidu (NasdaqGS: BIDU). Due to the fact that Alibaba and Baidu are Chinese companies with primary listings in New York, neither is included in major ETFs that benchmark to FTSE indices.

That includes the Vanguard FTSE Emerging Markets ETF (NYSEArca: VWO), the largest emerging markets ETF by assets, and the iShares China Large-Cap ETF (NYSEArca: FXI). FXI, which tracks the FTSE China 50 Index, is home to $6.1 billion in assets under management making it the largest U.S.-listed China ETF. Last month, FTSE said China ETFs tracking its indices topped a combined $24 billion in assets under management. [FTSE China ETFs top $24B in AUM]

Alibaba’s September 2014 initial public offer, last year’s largest, spurred debate regarding the inclusion of companies with primary listings in a country that is not their home domicile. Along with FTSE, MSCI (NYSE: MSCI) rejected the inclusion of Alibaba in major benchmarks such as the MSCI Emerging Markets Index.