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BlackRock May Double Size of Its Low-Cost ETF Lineup in 2014

BlackRock Inc., the world’s biggest money manager, plans to add as many as 10 new exchange-traded funds focused on international markets this year.

“We really want to double down on international categories to offer the next level of exposure for investors,” Daniel Gamba, head of BlackRock’s institutional ETF business in the Americas, said yesterday in an interview.

The new funds will primarily cover non-U.S. equity markets and target companies of all sizes, Gamba said. The funds will be part of the firm’s low-cost group of ETFs, Gamba said. He declined to provide more details.

BlackRock, based in New York, is adding new funds while closing down older offerings that failed to attract enough assets. The family of low-cost ETFs, started in 2012 in an effort to fend off cheaper competition from Vanguard Group Inc. and Charles Schwab Corp., helped the firm attract $40.8 billion in net deposits to its U.S. ETFs in 2013, according to research firm Morningstar Inc.

BlackRock said this month it would close down 10 ETFs that invest outside the U.S. in individual industries, including energy, health care and utilities. The funds hold a combined $52 million, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

In addition to the low-cost funds, BlackRock plans to open four equity ETFs in the coming months that aim to provide stock-market exposure with reduced volatility, Gamba said. The company is also developing a series of international funds that will hedge against currency swings. The first three will open on Feb. 4, Gamba said.

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