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Russell introduces multi-manager frontier market investing

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Russell Investments has launched one of the first multi-manager institutional funds with a specific frontier markets investment mandate.

Russell Investments has launched one of the first multi-manager institutional funds with a specific frontier markets investment mandate.

The Russell Frontier Markets Equity Fund will invest primarily in countries that are not generally considered part of developed markets or the core emerging markets but that have demonstrated an openness and accessibility to foreign investors.

The fund will have some flexibility to invest in companies that are listed in more developed markets but have a significant proportion of operations in frontier markets.

The fund is a bank-maintained collective investment fund maintained by Russell Trust Company. It is only available to certain qualified employee benefit plans and governments plans, and is not offered to the general public.

‘The frontier markets provide a fresh set of options for investors looking to find new companies that are not widely researched,’ says Scott Crawshaw, portfolio manager, Russell Investments. ‘The frontier markets offer return potential for patient investors, but there are liquidity and trading issues that need to be recognized and understood. Because so few managers specialise in these investments, finding talented managers with sufficient capacity will require experienced and dedicated manager research analysts.’

Geographic regions represented in the frontier markets may include, but are not limited to: Africa (Kenya, Nigeria and Zambia), the Caribbean (Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago), Eastern Europe (Croatia, Romania and Slovenia), Asia (Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Vietnam) and the Middle East (Jordan, Lebanon and Qatar).

Frontier markets include a large number of companies that have smaller market capitalizations, which Russell Investments says will be of particular interest to those investors who have observed an increase in the average market capitalization of their emerging markets exposure as these markets have developed.

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