Fund manager BlackRock has launched a suite of thematic exchange-traded funds (ETFs), following the global themes of ageing populations, healthcare innovation, digitalisation and robotics and automatisation. It said that these global megatrends will have a major influence on peoples’ lives and will grow in importance over the coming decades.
In order to capture these trends through ETF investment, BlackRock is working with iSTOXX and FactSet to develop systematic indices which will contain at least 80 of the most relevant companies for each theme. The iShares Ageing Population ETF will invest in companies benefiting from an older global population, such as health insurance and pharmaceuticals. The healthcare ETF will focus on advances in healthcare including drug treatments and diagnostic tools, while the automation and robotics fund will hold companies which are innovating, such as manufacturing robotics or wearable technology. The digitalisation ETF will allocate to companies engaged in cybersecurity, electronic payment processes and financial technology. BlackRock head of product for iShares EMEA, Tom Fekete, commented: “These ETFs look to capture the opportunities created by long-term structural trends, by identifying the companies most aligned to them. They are a new set of tools that investors can use to express their views on these trends, in a transparent, global and cost-efficient way.” All of the ETFs will use physical replication, or will hold the underlying securities in the index. All have an expense ratio of 0.4%.