BlackRock launches iShares Robotics and Artificial Intelligence ETF

Jun 29th, 2018 | By | Category: Equities

BlackRock has announced the launch of the iShares Robotics and Artificial Intelligence ETF (IRBO US) on NYSE Arca. The fund joins a growing number of thematic ETFs providing equity exposure to global firms that are involved in the production and/or application of robotics and artificial intelligence.

ETFs Robotics and AI

IRBO provides exposure to stocks selected based on their exposure to 22 subindustries related to the robotics and AI theme.

“Secular trends in technology aren’t confined to any one industry or geography, and that is particularly true for the broad-sweeping influence we see with robotics and AI driving innovation across all industries today,” said Mark Alberici, head of iShares product innovation at BlackRock.

“Investors looking to capture these long-term technology shifts now have a targeted solution available that reaches around the globe to offer exposure to leaders in robotics and AI.”

IRBO tracks the NYSE FactSet Global Robotics and Artificial Intelligence Index. The index draws its constituents from the universe of developed and emerging market (mainly Chinese) stocks with a free-float-adjusted market cap of at least $500 million.

Stocks are selected based on their exposure to 22 subindustries related to the robotics and AI theme. To be eligible for inclusion, a firm must generate at least half of its revenue from one of the subindustries or hold at least a 20% market share or generate at least $1 billion in annual revenues in those industries.

Constituents are equally weighted, thereby preventing IRBO from being dominated by a few mega-cap names. The index is rebalanced on a quarterly schedule.

There are currently 11 country’s with stocks featured in the index although over half (54.6%) of the total weight comes from equities listed in the US. Japan and China are the next largest country exposures with weights of 11.4% and 10.2% respectively.

IInformation technology is by far the largest sector exposure with a weight of 76.5%. Other sector exposures include industrials (15.1%) and consumer discretionary (6.1%).

IRBO has been listed with an expense ratio of 0.47%, indicating that BlackRock intends to compete with rivals on cost. The $2.3bn Global X Robotics & Artificial Intelligence ETF (BOTZ US) charges an annual fee of 0.68%, and the $2.1bn ROBO Global Robotics and Automation Index ETF (ROBO US) charges 0.95%.

First Trust also recently unveiled an ETF in this space, the First Trust Nasdaq Artificial Intelligence and Robotics ETF (ROBT US) on Nasdaq Exchange. ROBT tracks the Nasdaq CTA Artificial Intelligence and Robotics Index, comprising stocks globally whose operations are based upon the supply of AI and robotics processes to the technology, industrial, and medical sectors. It has an expense ratio of 0.65%.

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