New 'megatrend' ETFs let you invest in everything that's cool

Investors can target robotics, AI, genomics

By Anneken Tappe, CNN Business
Reuters

BlackRock has a new suite of products so investors can tackle so-called "megatrends".

NEW YORK - BlackRock has an ETF for virtually any niche you might want to invest in. Now BlackRock has launched a new suite of products so investors can tackle so-called "megatrends."

The new exchange-traded funds promise to be the purest way to access emerging areas, including robotics and AI, genomics, energy innovation and the developing world's emerging middle class.

To profit from investing in a trend, you have to go beyond investing in just one stock, according to BlackRock.

You shouldn't buy only Tesla if you want to get exposure to electric and self-driving vehicles, said Armando Senra, head of US, Canada and Latin America iShares.

"It's who makes the batteries, who makes the sensors. You'll be buying the lithium. When you're buying these themes, you're really going deep," Senra said.

The five megatrends on offer include technological breakthrough, demographic & social change, rapid urbanization, climate change & resource scarcity, and emerging global wealth.

Each category has at least one ETF attached to it that will give investors the purest exposure to that trend, said Jeff Spiegel, US head of iShares megatrend and international ETFs.

"It's a framework that is supposed to stand the test of time," added Senra. "Megatrends is the fasting growing segment of investing."

The trendy new ETFs, however, aren't meant to replace investors' core allocation. Rather, they're supplemental.

On Thursday, BlackRock launched the iShares Cybersecurity and Tech ETF under the ticker "IHAK," which belongs in the technological breakthrough category. It also launched the iShares Genomics Immunology and Healthcare ETF, or "IDNA," which is, so far, the only one listed under the demographics and social change theme.

BlackRock isn't the only player in the megatrends game. Others are after it too, like ARK's Genomic Revolution ETF or the ROBO Global Robotics and Automation ETF. BlackRock says its product is cheaper than its average competitors.

The company is planning to add more options to its current megatrend arsenal that includes ten funds. Over the next two years, this number could double, maybe even triple, said Chad Slawner, head of product and strategy for US iShares.

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