RBC iShares launches Sustainable Core ETF Suite

RBC iShares has expanded its ETF lineup with the launch of the iShares Sustainable Core ETFs, a suite of six ETFs on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

The new funds will be managed by BlackRock Asset Management Canada Limited (BlackRock Canada), an indirect wholly-owned subsidiary of BlackRock, Inc.

As a suite of environmental, social and governance (ESG)-oriented index ETFs, the iShares Sustainable Core ETFs are the first of their kind in Canada offering investors broad-based ESG solutions and the ability to build diversified, low-cost sustainable portfolios with unprecedented simplicity. They are also the first set of new products introduced under the RBC iShares alliance, a strategic alliance between BlackRock Canada and RBC Global Asset Management Inc (RBC GAM Inc).

With the launch of the iShares Core ETFs in 2014, BlackRock Canada’s mission was to enable all Canadian investors to easily identify and access foundational, low-cost funds to hold at the core of their portfolios; the new iShares Sustainable Core ETF suite builds upon that success. These ESG-oriented index ETFs are designed as low-cost building blocks for investors to create diversified, sustainable portfolios. The suite, which includes four ESG equity ETFs and two ESG bond ETFs, offers broad Canadian, US, international and emerging market equity exposures, along with Canadian aggregate and short-term bond exposures.

The funds are: iShares ESG MSCI Canada Index ETF (XESG), the iShares ESG MSCI USA Index ETF (XSUS), the iShares ESG MSCI EAFE Index ETF (XSEA), the iShares ESG MSCI Emerging Markets Index ETF (XSEM), the iShares ESG Canadian Aggregate Bond Index ETF (XSAB), and the iShares ESG Canadian Short Term Bond Index ETF (XSTB).

Generally, the indices that the ETFs currently seek to track are designed to emphasise exposure to issuers with positive ESG characteristics chosen from securities included in its respective parent index, while exhibiting risk and return characteristics similar to those of the relevant parent index for each market segment. The current indices apply socially responsible investing screens to exclude securities of companies involved in the business of tobacco, companies involved with controversial weapons, producers and retailers of civilian firearms, as well as companies involved in very severe business controversies, in each case as determined by the index provider.

Pat Chiefalo, Managing Director, Head of iShares, BlackRock Canada, says: “As the first solutions introduced under the RBC iShares alliance, it was important for us to bring a set of ETFs to market that would satisfy a growing need and have a real investor impact. We’re seeing the sustainable investing category rapidly growing, as investors evolve how they build their portfolios, increasingly placing a greater focus on solutions that allow them to align their beliefs with their investments. The iShares Sustainable Core ETFs empower investors to achieve both outcomes, in the same simple experience they have come to know with the iShares Core ETFs.”   
Doug Coulter, President, RBC GAM Inc, adds: “The addition of the iShares Sustainable Core ETF suite to the RBC iShares platform brings an entirely new and innovative solution set for the growing number of Canadians looking to incorporate environmental, social and governance factors into their portfolios. The RBC iShares strategic alliance was launched with the stated goal of bringing unparalleled choice and opportunities to Canadian ETF investors, and these new solutions reflect that commitment.” 

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