The ESR is not the first ETF to expose investors to Eastern European markets. SPDR S&P Emerging Europe ETF (GUR) has been trading since March 2007 and tracks a basket of companies from the same four nations plus Turkey and a menial showing from the U.S. Once again, a huge percentage of the GUR is allocated to the same top energy companies in the area.
Although the two funds have similar holdings and sector allocations, The GUR's low expense ratio will likely stifle some of the added competition from the ESR's entrance. While the ESR charges investors over 0.70%, the GUR only carries a 0.59% fee. Furthermore, with 63% of the GUR's assets in Russia vs. 75% of the ESR's assets, the GUR offers more diversification.
Year-to-date for the period ending Oct. 5, The GUR has performed well. The fund is up nearly 61%.
In the end, however, these funds are more like a Russia ETF, such as Market Vectors Russia (RSX), which has a 0.62% fee that makes it competitive with these funds, with some added diversification into Eastern Europe. Investors who want pure plays on Poland and other Eastern European countries will have to wait.