After a long period without any new exchange-traded funds, Barclays (BCS) seems to be back in the game. Earlier this month, it listed a bunch of exchange-traded notes that track commodities, and now it's coming back to market with four new funds that track real estate investment trusts. Three track foreign REITs; and of those, two offer more exposure to regional markets than many existing products.
- iShares FTSE EPRA/NAREIT Global Real Estate ex-U.S. Index Fund (IFGL )
- iShares FTSE EPRA/NAREIT Asia Index Fund (IFAS)
- iShares FTSE EPRA/NAREIT Europe Index Fund (IFEU)
- iShares FTSE EPRA/NAREIT North America Index Fund (IFNA)
IFGL competes with four existing REIT ETFs, the SPDR Dow Jones Wilshire International Real Estate ETF (RWX), WisdomTree International Real Estate ETF (DRW) and iShares S&P World ex-US Property Index Fund (WPS).
What was that last one? Yes, Barclays already has a fund in the space under the same iShares brand. I don't get it either.
IFGL and WPS have the lowest expense ratio of the four at 0.48% each, compared with 0.60% for RWX and 0.58% for DRW.The four new products are similar in many ways but there are a few differences. All four allocate heavily to Australia, with Westfield Group being the largest single stock in all of them. Westfield is an Aussie-based mall operator but approximately half of its portfolio of malls is in the U.S. It is a large enough holding that I think anyone interested in any of these four funds should be comfortable with its exposure to the U.S. consumer. All four funds also share prominent weights in Hong Kong and Japan.