Recently, I had a chance to chat with Mary Anne Wiley, head of BlackRock Canada on what the 800 pound Gorilla in the ETF marketplace plans to do after the blockbuster acquisition of the #2 player Claymore Investments was recently finalized. After the acquisition closed, iShares rebranded all Claymore products (ticker symbols remained the same) but apart from that the only changes have been some minor adjustments. Here’s what I learnt:
- I started off by asking why the Claymore Inverse 10 Year Government Bond ETF (CIB) was terminated and whether it presages any more fund closures. Ms. Wiley said that the decision was made because CIB was not consistent with the iShares brand since it was most effective for short-term holding periods and also had no strong market appeal.
- iShares plans on maintaining the lineup of Research Affiliates Fundamental Index (RAFI) ETFs and laddered fixed-income ETFs both of which are very popular among individual investors. It appears that laddered ETFs make it easier to introduce the concept of low-cost fixed-income investing to retail investors compared to capitalization-weighted products, which are more popular among institutional investors.
- Dividend Reinvestment Plans (DRIPs), Share Purchase Plans (SPPs) and Pre-Authorized Contribution Plans (PACCs) will be maintained for the Claymore ETFs.
- DRIPs will be rolled out to all iShares products later this year. Since, many discount brokers already offer synthetic DRIPs on most ETFs, many investors already have the ability to reinvest dividends.
- The advisor class ETFs which are sold through advisors and have an extra fee tacked on top to compensate for financial advice will be maintained for existing products.
- iShares plans to roll out advisor class ETFs to the other products in its lineup.