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ETFs: A fund route into Latin markets

Despite growing market volatility and the fallout from the US sub-prime crisis, Latin American stock markets remain hugely profitable after a three-year bull run. Investors worldwide are keen to get a piece of the action. With plans for regional stock exchanges and cross-border trading still at the draft stage, investors are turning to exchange-traded funds (ETFs) to get exposure to such equity markets as Brazil’s Bovespa and Mexico’s IPC index and tap into high-yielding shares.

Spain’s second-largest bank, BBVA, has been the latest to move into ETFs for Latin America, teaming up with the FTSE group to launch two new funds, the FTSE Latibex Top ETF and FTSE Latibex Brasil ETF on the Madrid stock exchange in late July, offering the option of investing in Brazilian, Mexico and Chilean shares.

Lyxor Asset Management, a subsidiary of Société Générale, has issued its Lyxor ETF Brazil on the Deutsche Börse and Lyxor hopes to launch its Lyxor ETF MSCI EM Latam fund in Spain after issuing it in Italy. Money manager State Street Global Advisors also issued its Bric ETF in June to invest in Brazilian securities, as well as those of Russia, India and China. "The idea is to be present in more markets and offer more people these very attractive products," says Ricardo Laiseca, director of global markets at BBVA.

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