Barclays Global Investors (BGI) has added China to its Australian exchange traded funds line-up, called iShares, with the top 25 stocks in that market accessible for a 74bps fee.

BGI launched another six iShares last week, taking the total it has in Australia to 14. The first eight were launched last month. Each of the 14 funds is international. Competitor State Street Global Advisors, which has been in the ETF market in Australia for several years, has three Australian index funds. Specialist gold manager, Gold Bullion Securities, also has an ETF which tracks the international gold price. The latest BGI ETFs are: China, Hong Kong, South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, and US small caps. The fee is different for each ETF, the cheapest being US small caps at 20bps. ETFs are open-ended funds which otherwise have all the characteristics of stocks. Their advantages include daily liquidity, inexpensive access and, unlike listed investment companies, they trade without a discount to their fundamental value. The 14 BGI iShares, which are cross-listed on the New York Stock Exchange, comprise about $US178 billion in assets under management. Morry Waked, BGI’s chief executive, said the firm would continue to expand its iShares product set to meet the needs of Australian clients.

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