Back in April we reported on FaithShares, a planned line of new ETFs aimed at various Christian denominations. Today the pool of monotheist-oriented ETFs expanded with the launch of Javelin Dow Jones Islamic Market International Index Fund (JVS) on the NYSE. More funds are planned from this new ETF family that calls itself JETS – Javelin Exchange Traded Shares.
The fund will track a Dow Jones index of 100 companies in 23 non-U.S. countries. The JVS portfolio has exposure to 18 different currencies and carries an estimated expense ratio of 0.68%. The largest sector allocation is energy, followed by basic materials, health care, and technology. A board of Islamic scholars oversees the portfolio.
In theory, JVS should have ample opportunity to attract assets. Investors who wish to follow Islamic Shari’ah law must avoid companies involved with alcohol, tobacco, pork, certain kinds of entertainment, and borrowing or lending at interest. This last constraint makes it very difficult to own most financial stocks as well as highly-leveraged companies of all kinds. JVS gives faithful Muslims (of which there are some seven million in the U.S.) a way to invest without compromising their beliefs.
On the other hand, these same people have presumably been investing for years without custom-made ETFs, so maybe they have found other ways to meet the requirements. We will watch with interest to see how the JETS brand grows.