On the same day that FocusShares announced its exit from the exchange-traded fund business, Russell Investments announced today that it is "conducting a strategic review of its direct U.S. ETF business in an effort to focus more exclusively on its core competency."

The firm also said it is scaling back its dedicated U.S. ETF team, primarily based out of the firm's San Francisco and New York City offices. It began its ETF initiative in January 2010 with the appointment of James Polisson as managing director of Russell's global ETF business and Andrew Arenberg as managing director of global ETF distribution. Both previously were instrumental in building Barclays Global Investors' global iShares business.

A spokesperson for the firm was not immediately available for comment on the firm's impending exit from the ETF space.