Yesterday, Standard & Poor’s, an index provider, announced the launch of the S&P/IFCG Extended Frontier 150 Index, the first fully investable index for frontier equity markets. The new index, which contains the largest and most liquid stocks from over 30 developing markets, will offer exposure to markets previously not considered investable by most fund managers because they are dominated by companies too small and illiquid to trade.
Constituents for the S&P/IFCG Extended Frontier 150 are drawn from countries including Bahrain, Bangladesh, Botswana, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Colombia, Cote D’Ivoire, Croatia, Ecuador, Estonia, Georgia, Ghana, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lebanon, Lithuania, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Qatar, Romania, Slovenia, Sri Lanka, Tunisia, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, Vietnam and Zimbabwe. Standard & Poor’s believes these markets now have adequate listings and turnover, and have attracted sufficient foreign investor interest to warrant the infrastructure necessary to sustain regular index calculations.
Alka Banerjee, vice president of Standard & Poor’s Index Services, says the S&P/IFCG Extended Frontier 150 is designed to meet the needs of increasingly sophisticated investors seeking to expand into markets with the potential for similar or greater returns than other better known developed and emerging markets.
“Frontier markets represent the next chapter for alpha-seeking investors looking beyond the maturing developing economies,” says Banerjee. “Accelerating economic growth, increased government focus on privatizations and heightened IPO activity is luring foreign investors to frontier equity markets. These markets are less exposed to swings in the global economy and less correlated with other equity markets, providing investors with distinct diversification and risk reduction benefits at a time when global equity markets are increasingly volatile.”
The S&P/IFCG Extended Frontier 150, which draws on data from the S&P Emerging Markets Database, has been launched with constituents from 26 countries representing an adjusted market capitalization of US $193.3 billion. Colombia, Kuwait, Nigeria, the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.) and Qatar have the highest country weightings in the new index, while Pakistan has the largest number of stocks included.
To be eligible for inclusion in the index, companies must have a float-adjusted market capitalisation of at least $50 million and a value traded of at least $25 million over the preceding six months. The index uses a modified market capitalisation scheme to ensure that no country has a weight greater than 15% and no security represents more than 10% of the index.