Botswana to Get Gold ETF


". . .I think the trick and the challenge is going to be to get it to the retail space in an efficient way."

Vladimir Nedeljkovic, head of ETFs at Absa Group's investment banking arm plans to secondary-list its star ETF NewGold in Botswana in early 2010 to test investor appetite as it expands in Africa.

Nedeljkovic told Reuters the unit also planned to launch new ETFs and products in its core South African market as more investors ditch equities and seek safe-haven assets in a global downturn.

"It seems on the investor side, people are starting to understand the advantages of ETFs. So I think (given) the state of the industry, now we're at the point where it's really going to start growing quite dramatically," he said.

Nedeljkovic said Absa Capital also planned to launch commodity-based exchange traded notes by the beginning of 2010, which would be expanded to cover other asset classes including currencies and fixed income.

"It's either going to happen late this year or we're going to push it to the first weeks of January, just to catch everybody when they come back (from holiday)," he said. He expects to reach double digits in ETNs by the end of 2010.

"As investment bank we have a very good and very developed institutional distribution, and most of our products are predominantly in the institutional space; but I think the trick and the challenge is going to be to get it to the retail space in an efficient way."

Nedeljkovic said he expected the NewSA ETF, which invests in black economic empowerment (BEE) companies, to exceed a billion tons in assets in 2010. It currently has 500 million tons.

Absa Capital's more retail-focused Shariah ETF is being opened up to investors elsewhere on the African continent; Nedeljkovic also said the firm was in early talks with Middle Eastern investors.

"I think we're going to have a very aggressive early 2010. . ."

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