Claymore Canada has introduced a couple of ETFs that track interesting asset classes: Claymore Global Real Estate ETF (CGR) and Claymore Global Infrastructure ETF (CIF). CGR tracks the Cohen & Steers Global Realty Majors index, which is composed of 75 securities representing the US (40%), UK (10%), Japan (13%), Hong Kong (10.5%), Australia (11%) and minor weighting to other countries. The MER for the ETF is 0.65% and yields 4.4%. The major alternatives, all of which trade on the US exchanges, are: Cohen & Steers Global Realty Majors ETF (GRI, tracks the same index as CGR and has a MER of 0.55%, First Trust FTSE EPRA/NAREIT Global Real Estate Index Fund (FFR, MER of 0.60%) and SPDR DJ Wilshire International Real Estate ETF (RWX, MER 0.60%).
While CGR is much more diversified than the iShares CDN REIT ETF (XRE) and has a decent yield, I wonder if it is appropriate to add foreign real estate to a portfolio, considering that most investors’ allocation to REITs is already small, say 5% to 10%. In any case, there is reason to adopt a wait-and-watch stance because according to the prospectus, the ETF will track the underlying index’s returns through derivatives and incur expenses in addition to the MER. Moreover it is not clear if a market for CGR can be sustained because global real estate is cooling (down 20% over one year) after extremely good returns over a five year period.