Definition of the World Equity Benchmark Series (WEBS)

What was the World Equity Benchmark Series (WEBS)?

The World Equity Benchmark Series (WEBS) was an international fund that was traded on the American stock exchange. Introduced by Morgan Stanley in 1996, it was a type of hybrid security that possessed the characteristics of both open-ended and closed-end funds.

In 2000 WEBS was renamed iShares MSCI Emerging Markets Exchange Traded Fund (ETF). The iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF seeks to track the investment results of the MSCI Emerging Markets Index, an index made up of stocks from emerging markets with large and mid-cap markets... ..

The central theses

  • In 2000, the World Equity Benchmark Series (WEBS) was renamed iShares MSCI Emerging Markets Exchange Traded Fund (ETF).
  • The iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF seeks to track the investment results of the MSCI Emerging Markets Index, an index made up of stocks from emerging markets with large and mid-cap markets.
  • The iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF is similar to the SPDR S & P 500 Trust, an Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) managed by State Street Global Advisors that tracks the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index (S & P 500).

Understanding the World Equity Benchmark Series (WEBS)

A closed-end fund is a fund established as a publicly traded investment. These funds can raise a certain amount of capital when they go public. The money raised flows into a fund, which is then listed as a share and traded on a public stock exchange. It is a specialized stock portfolio with a unique number of stocks. An open fund is a traditional mutual fund that consists of a pool of money from many investors to invest in stocks and bonds. Investors share profits and losses in proportion to their investment in the fund.

An organization using a WEBS owned each of the securities traded in the MSCI country indices. Ownership was roughly proportionate to original capitalization or investment. A WEBS could be bought, sold and traded like stocks.

Investors could use the WEBS to achieve international diversification. The World Equity Benchmark Series was available for many different countries including Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, the Netherlands, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United States Kingdom.

The name change of the World Equity Benchmark Series (WEBS) to iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF was intended to reflect the uniform brand name for all exchange traded funds managed by Barclays Global Investors (now BlackRock).

At that time, the indices included iShares MSCI Australia, iShares MSCI Austria, iShares MSCI Belgium, iShares MSCI Canada, iShares MSCI France, iShares MSCI Germany, iShares MSCI Hong Kong, iShares MSCI Italy, iShares MSCI Japan, iShares MSCI Italy Mexico, iShares MSCI Netherlands , iShares MSCI Singapore, iShares MSCI South Korea, iShares MSCI Spain, iShares MSCI Sweden, iShares MSCI Switzerland and iShares MSCI United Kingdom.

iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF and the SPDR S & P 500 Trust

The iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF is similar to the SPDR S & P 500 Trust, an Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) managed by State Street Global Advisors that tracks the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index (S & P 500). Previously, the SPDR S&P 500 Trust was simply referred to as Standard & Poor’s deposit receipt. More often it was shortened to SPDR and referred to as “Spider”.

Each share of an SPDR S&P 500 Trust contains one-tenth of the S&P 500 index and trades at approximately one-tenth the dollar value of the S&P 500. Investors can use the SPDR S&P 500 Trust to achieve broad diversification across specific parts of the market.

For example, the SPDR S & P Dividend ETF is an investment vehicle designed to deliver investment results that track the total return of the S & P High Yield Dividend Aristocrats Index. This means that the SPDR S&P Dividend ETF indexes dividend-paying stocks that are part of the S&P 500. The ETF consists of a total of 112 companies and tracks performance based on its net asset value, which is expressed as the price per share.

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