The continued introduction of innovative investment products such as Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) provides additional investment options not only for the retail market but also the huge pool of institutional and high net worth investors in Singapore. In 2006, Singapore witnessed the launch of a few landmark ETFs such as Asia’s first commodity index ETF, Asia’s first gold-backed ETF, the world’s first ASEAN ETF and the world’s first Indian ETF. The selection of Singapore as the location for these ground-breaking listings is a testament to Singapore’s strategic position in capturing investors’ interest from the ASEAN region, China, India and the Middle-East. As at end April 2007, Singapore’s ETF market offered 16 issues covering a broad spectrum of regional emerging markets and asset classes.
- Asia’s first gold ETF, StreetTRACKS Gold Shares, was cross-listed on the SGX in October 2006 to capitalise on Asia’s growing fondness for gold bullion. The fund primarily-listed on the New York Stock Exchange in November 2004, tracks the price of gold and is backed by physical allocated gold bullion stored and insured by its custodian HSBC Bank USA.
- World’s first ASEAN ETF, the FTSE/ASEAN 40 ETF, which started trading in September 2006, provides retail and institutional investors with quick access to ASEAN&rsq
uo;s top 40 stocks. Sponsored by Malaysian-based banking group CIMB, FTSE/ASEAN 40 ETF closely tracks the FTSE/ASEAN 40 index, a composite of top 40 stocks
by market capitalisation and is free-float adjusted across Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines.
- World’s first Indian index-linked ETF, iShares MSCI India ETF, was launched in June 2006, allowing retail and institutional investors to track India’s capital markets. The fund is managed by Barclays Global Investors and marks an important step in Singapore’s positioning as the centre for ETF listings and the world’s gateway to Asia.