DEFINITION of 'World Equity Benchmark Series - WEBS'

The World Equity Benchmark Series is a type of international fund traded on the American Stock Exchange. The World Equity Benchmark Series follows the Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) country indices. It was introduced in 1996 by Morgan Stanley and is a type of hybrid security that possesses qualities of both open- and closed-end funds.

BREAKING DOWN 'World Equity Benchmark Series - WEBS'

A closed-end fund is a fund formed as a publicly traded investment. These funds can raise a designated amount of capital with an initial public offering. The money collected goes into a fund that is then listed as a stock and traded on a public exchange. It is a specialized stock portfolio with a one-time fixed number of shares. An open-end fund is a conventional mutual fund, made up of a pool of money from many investors for investing in stocks and bonds. Investors share gains and losses in proportion to their investment in the fund.

An organization using a World Equity Benchmark Series owns each of the securities traded on the MSCI country indices. Ownership is in an approximate ratio to the initial capitalization or investment. A World Equity Benchmark Series can be bought, sold and traded like stocks.

Investors can use the World Equity Benchmark Series to achieve international diversification. The World Equity Benchmark Series is available for many different countries, including Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, the Netherlands, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. The World Equity Benchmark Series follows reflects around 60% of the capitalization of a country's stock market. They are widely used by investors as benchmarks by which exchange-traded funds are bought and sold.

World Equity Benchmark Series and SPDRs

The World Equity Benchmark Series is similar to the SPDR series offered by Standard & Poor's. SPDR stands for Standard & Poor's depositary receipt, and it is an exchange-traded fund (ETF) managed by State Street Global Advisors that tracks the Standard & Poor's 500 index (S&P 500). Each share of an SPDR contains one-tenth of the S&P 500 index and trades at roughly at one-tenth the dollar-value level of the S&P 500. SPDRs can also refer to the general group of ETFs to which the Standard & Poor's depositary receipt belongs.

Investors can use SPDRs to realize broad diversification to specific portions of the market. For example, the SPDR S&P Dividend ETF is an investment vehicle that seeks to provide investment results that track the total return performance of the S&P High Yield Dividend Aristocrats Index. This means that the SPDR S&P Dividend ETF indexes dividend-paying stocks that are a part of the S&P 500. The ETF is made up of a total of 109 companies and tracks performance through its net asset value, which is communicated as a price per share.

  1. Benchmark

    A benchmark is a standard against which the performance of a ...
  2. Equity Fund

    An equity fund is a type of fund that uses investors' capital ...
  3. Active Return

    Active return is the percentage gain or loss of an investment ...
  4. Standard & Poor's - S&P

    Standard & Poor's (S&P) is a major index provider and source ...
  5. Active Risk

    Active risk is a type of risk that a fund or managed portfolio ...
  6. Time Series

    A time series is a sequence of numerical data points in successive ...
Related Articles
  1. Investing

    Top 3 ETFs Tracking the MSCI World Index

    Only one exchange-traded fund directly tracks the Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) World Index, but other ETFs are highly correlated to it.
  2. Financial Advisor

    S&P 500 ETFs: What Every Investor Should Know

    Before you invest in that SPDR S&P 500 ETF (or any other ETF based on that index) here are a few things to consider.
  3. Investing

    The Top 3 ETFs For Investing in the US Economy (SPY, VOO)

    Find out more about exchange-traded funds that track the U.S. economy, such as the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust, Vanguard S&P 500 ETF and the SPDR S&P 400 MidCap ETF.
  4. Personal Finance

    The Series 79 Exam: What It Is And When You Need It

    If you're getting into the field of investment banking, you'll need to know all about the Series 79.
  5. Investing

    6 Popular ETF Types For Your Portfolio

    Due to their ease of use, low fees and diversification benefits, ETFs have exploded in popularity. We look at six common types of funds.
  6. Investing

    5 Best Dividend-Paying International Equity ETFs (SDIV, LVL)

    Discover five of the highest dividend-yielding ETFs that are available for investors seeking portfolio exposure to international equities.
  7. Investing

    9 Fund Favorites for Income Investors

    Historically low interest rates have created challenges in recent years for investors seeking yield. For those who want to generate income, several leading contributors highlight ...
  8. Investing

    Small Cap Index Fund: NAESX (ETF) vs. SLYG (Mutual Fund)

    Learn about how factors such as management style, sector allocation, expenses and dividend yields differentiate between similar ETFs and mutual funds.
  1. Why do investors use the S&P 500 as a benchmark?

    Learn about the advantages and disadvantages of using the S&P 500 as a benchmark for portfolio performance, and understand ... Read Answer >>
  2. How can I buy an S&P 500 fund?

    Looking for access to the S&P 500? Learn how to access an S&P 500 index fund or ETF. Read Answer >>
Trading Center