In the past couple of years, investors have increasingly turned to cheaper options to gain long-term exposure to various market segments.

Nevertheless, EEM is still a relevant investment as its vast liquidity and tight bid/ask spreads attract large institutional traders whom care more about executing large bets quickly than the long-term cost of holding the fund.

IEMG “has grown by nearly $4 billion, or around 20 percent, this year, the most of any U.S.-listed ETF, according to Bloomberg data. The biggest emerging-market ETF, Vanguard’s FTSE Emerging Markets ETF, symbol VWO, has seen roughly half the inflows, though its expense ratio is slightly higher than IEMG’s,” according to Bloomberg.

The rising dollar is potentially problematic for emerging stocks, but there are ways to handle that. For example, investors may also turn to currency-hedged EM strategies like the Deutsche X-trackers MSCI Emerging Markets Hedged Equity Fund (NYSEArca: DBEM), which targets the emerging markets but includes currency swaps to mitigate the negative effects of a stronger USD or depreciating emerging currencies

Emerging market assets have already struggled and may be past their lowest point. The EM segment could slowly improve from here with strengthening current account balances, rising commodity prices and better fundamentals.