EUROPE – UBS Global Asset Management has launched a series of exchange traded funds (ETFs) aimed at European institutional investors.

"Fresco Bees" as the ETFs will be known are a B class of shares available to institutional investors in France, Germany, the UK and Luxembourg. Two ETFs were launched yesterday on Euronext Paris, and a further ETF, Fresco Dow Jones US Large Cap Bees, is planned for late February pending final listing authorisation by the COB.

The two ETFs launched yesterday (FRESCO Dow Jones EURO STOXX 50 Bees) is the most cost-effectie ETF world-wide, having a total expense ration of 29 basis points, compared to the average 47.5bp

ETFs are becoming increasingly popular in Europe as they offer diversity and are relatively low cost. Europe now has the largest number of ETF products at 118,and in 2002 saw 47 new product launches.

According to Morgan Stanley, during 2002, assets under management in the ETF marketplace increased by 35% worldwide to 141.62 billion dollars. Japanese listed ETFs boasted the largest growth with assets under management increasing 218% to 21 billion dollars. The European market followed with a 91% increase to 10.69 billion dollars. The US market increased by 21% but still remains the largest with 102.28 billion dollars in assets under management.