When State Street Global Advisors announced that it was planning to launch the first exchange-traded funds in Europe in October 2000, there was some skepticism in the industry as to whether or not ETFs had a place outside the U.S. at that point. However, firms wanting to secure ETFs on the limited number of indexes that exist worldwide, began launching the products left and right. Currently, with 102, there are as many ETFs outside the U.S. as inside and firms are planning to launch more later this year.
SSgA now has ETFs in Australia, Europe, and Canada and Hong Kong. Last week, the firm announced that it would administer and manage seven ETFs based on European sector indices for UNICO Asset Management. Barclays Global Investors, which sponsors the iShares series, now has more than 40 ETFs in Asia, Canada and Europe. In Germany alone, 14 new ETFs have been introduced so far in 2002 and 15 more are expected to launch in the coming months, according to Kathe Dodd of J.P. Morgan Investor Services.