BlackRock has launched a metaverse ETF, ETF Stream can reveal, and a global equity socially responsible investing (SRI) ETF.

The iShares Metaverse UCITS ETF (MTAV) is listed on Euronext with a total expense ratio (TER) of 0.50% and the iShares MSCI ACWI SRI UCITS ETF (SAWI) is listed on Euronext and the Deutsche Boerse with a fee of 0.20%.

MTAV tracks the STOXX Global Metaverse index which offers exposure to 65 companies involved in the digital marketplace, gaming, healthcare, manufacturing, software, hardware and components. 

Qontigo selects the top 10% of companies with High Quality Patents (HQP) in technologies ranging from 3D image modelling, avatars, blockchain, graphic processing units (GPU), non-fungible tokens (NFT) and virtual, augmented and extended reality, based on EconSight data.

The index also excludes companies involved in controversial weapons as well as those Sustainalytics flags as having a ‘severe’ controversy rating those incompliant with Global Standards Screening (GSS).

Further screens are applied for small arms and military contracting, fossil fuels, nuclear power and tobacco.

Omar Moufti, product strategist for thematic and sector ETFs at BlackRock, said: “We see the metaverse as the next leap forward in global communication and connectivity.  

“It has the potential to revolutionise many sectors and processes, and reshape every facet of society, from the way we work, consume, interact, and produce.” 

SAWI tracks the MSCI ACWI SRI index of 542 companies scoring highly on ESG metrics from 23 developed and 24 emerging markets.

Constituents are screened for involvement in 17 business activities including alcohol, gambling, tobacco, adult entertainment, genetically modified organisms (GMO), nuclear power and weaponry and fossil fuel subsectors.

They also cannot rank among MSCI’s top 30% of most controversial companies and must have an overall MSCI ESG rating of ‘A’ or higher to be eligible. 

Remaining companies are then ranked by ESG rating and the top quartile of each sector form the final index, which has a 55% lower carbon intensity than its parent benchmark. 

BlackRock said the ETF was launched with a particular focus on its German retail audience. German investors are the leading users of BlackRock’s European ETF savings plans and 20% of new assets have flowed into ESG products over the past three years.

Verena Heming, lead digital distribution at BlackRock Germany, commented: “SAWI provides German investors with one trade access to global equity markets, integrating ESG considerations.  

“As German investors increase their use of ETF savings plans, we expect these plans to be a key tool to harness growing preferences for ESG in a broadly diversified format.” 

The two ETFs build on an active year of launches for Europe’s largest ETF issuer. In recent months it expanded its thematic range by launching the iShares Blockchain Technology UCITS ETF (BLKC) in September and the iShares Digital Entertainment and Education UCITS ETF (PLAY) in June.

The firm has also built out its offering of ESG ETFs, with the iShares S&P 500 ESG UCITS ETF (ESPX) arriving in August and the iShares € Corp Bond ESG Paris-Aligned Climate UCITS ETF (CBUJ) in June.

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