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fund watch

Gavin Graham, Director of Investments, BMO Asset ManagementKevin Van Paassen

Excel Fund Management Inc. has a new weapon to fight against the onslaught of low-fee, emerging markets exchange traded funds (ETF) flooding the Canadian market.

Excel, a fund company focused on the emerging markets niche, has snapped up Gavin Graham, a former Bank of Montreal director of investments and a familiar face on Business New Network (BNN), to become a global investment strategist to deal with financial advisers and media.

Mr. Graham left BMO at the end of December following the merger of BMO Investments Inc. and Guardian Group of Funds (GGOF) Ltd. and the bank's new foray into ETFs.

In his new role, Mr. Graham will be promoting Excel's actively managed funds - like those invested in China, India, Latin America and BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China) - as they face increasing competition from ETFs.

One rival is his former employer, which launched BMO China Equity Hedged to CAD and BMO India Equity Hedged to CAD in January. These ETFs only invest in a basket of depositary receipts listed in New York.

The same month, iShares Canada rolled out iShares China ETF ; iShares MSCI Brazil ETF ; iShares S&P Latin America ETF and iShares S&P Nifty India ETF .

And Claymore Investments Inc., who administers the Claymore BRIC ETF , plans to roll out its Claymore China ETF soon.

It's shaping up to be an interesting fight for emerging-market investment dollars.