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First global robotics ETF launches in Australia


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ROBO, a new ETF, will give Australian investors access to global companies focussing on robotics and AI.

ETF Securities Australia has today launched Australia's first exchange traded fund (ETF) that offers investors access to global robotics, automation and artificial intelligence (AI) innovation. The ETF will begin trading on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) from today and will trade under the name ROBO.

The robotics economy was worth an estimated US$64 billion in 2015 and is predicted to be worth over US$1 trillion by 2025. ROBO will tap into this global trend of robotics and AI business solutions that we've seen grow in Australia over the past year thanks to the rise of fintech startups.

Major local financial institutions are investing heavily in these technologies as they try to keep up with the fintech players and maintain their leading market positions. In May this year, UBank launched Australia's first artificial intelligence chatbot for home loans, and Westpac has also revealed its plans to introduce customer service bots across the bank.

ETF securities has partnered with US-based ROBO Global, a specialist robotics and automation research house, to launch ROBO in Australia.

"ROBO Global is the pioneer in this area, having created the first robotics and automation ETF on the NASDAQ in 2013, and continues to work with a strategic advisory team including leading robotics experts. We're excited to be partnering with them to offer local investors a unique opportunity to buy into a spread of transformation technologies which might otherwise be challenging to invest in," said head of ETF Securities Australia, Kris Walesby.

ROBO will track 83 stocks from 12 high-growth sub-sectors and across 15 countries, although there are no Australian stocks in the index just yet. Stocks which earn most of their revenue from robotics, automation and AI currently comprise around 40% of the index, with the remaining 60% made up of companies which have a large segment of their business focussing in this area.

The index has performed strongly to date, returning 31.2% over the past 12 months and 25.7% annualised over five years (in Australian dollar terms). ROBO will have a management fee of 0.69%.

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