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Thursday, June 10, 2004

iShares at it Again

Reported by Theresa Sim

Barclay Global Investors' iShares has plans to roll out nine more exchange-traded funds (ETFs) within two or three weeks, said James Polission, chief marketing officer for iShares on Wednesday.

The nine new funds will fit with Morningstar's nine style boxes corresponding to small, medium, large and value, core and growth. Polisson added that advisor feedback indicated that advisers found some frustration in trying to fit funds within Morningstar's style boxes.

iShares had planned to release the ETFs on Friday, but decided to delay to release in light of the market closure due to President Reagan's passing, said Polission.

With an estimated 45 percent of the total $162 billion ETF industry and 87 ETFs, iShares is one of the top players in an industry dominated by few.

Polisson said that the firm would probably not continue at the breakneck speed with which it has launched new products in the past. iShares had 35 ETFs by May 2000 and 57 by December 2000.

In terms of new products down the road, both Polisson and J.S. Parsons, iShares' director of sales, told attendees of a closed-end funds and exchange-traded funds conference that iShares and the industry are likely to start looking outside of the equity ETF box. High-yield and other fixed income ETFs and actively managed ETFs are two directions the firm, and the industry, may head towards, commented Polisson and Parsons.

Polisson added that the firm had not seen enough national demand for a municipal bond ETF product.

iShares last released two ETFs, based on New York Stock Exchange Indexes, in April.

iShares swept awards for best shareholder and investor relations, best investor relations website and most innovative product line at the Closed-End Funds and Exchange-Traded Funds conference in New York on Wednesday. 

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