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Evolution of Indexing

One of my more interesting visits was with the people from MSCI/Barra. Many of my readers have commented about fixed-income ETFs. Well, MSCI/Barra has all the indices that the entire industry will ever need. (Well, this may be hyperbole, but it does have a lot of them!)

When it comes to bonds, I don't feel the need to get too exotic. I would be thrilled to have access to sovereign debt from other countries. MSCI/Barra has indices from all the big countries, along with places like Hungary and South Africa. Maintaining indices of government bonds is not a huge obstacle like foreign corporates could be. I tend to think that where foreign bonds are concerned, it is more about capturing general effect than every last basis point.

My last big visit was with Rydex. The Yen ETF is in registration and will probably round out its product line. Rydex also has an ETF based on a credit default swap index (CDX) somewhere in the process. When I asked about a VIX ETF and confessed I wasn't sure how it would work, the representative laid it all out in about two seconds, which makes me think some thought has already been devoted to the idea. The potential applications for VIX and CDX ETFs would be very sophisticated and something I need to learn more about.
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