In this case, Alcon and America Movil are both apt to make solid long-term additions to buy-and-hold portfolios and can be confidently copied by investors. The two country-based ETFs, on the other hand, are a needlessly chicken-esque decision for the endowment's managers.
To be clear, both emerging markets have a great deal to offer. The problem is, their respective funds only offer a watered-down version of that potential. Active investors are better off taking the bigger country-themed hint from Harvard's endowment and then shopping for that locale's better individual stocks. You could even start by simply looking at the top holdings of the two ETFs. (For my favorite picks in Brazil, check out my recent article.)
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Disclosure: At the time of publication, James Brumley owned no positions in the stocks mentioned.