First Asset Management has licensed seven indexes from Chicago-based Morningstar, Inc. to serve as benchmarks for a series of new exchange-traded funds, the two companies announced Tuesday.

Toronto-based First Asset expects to launch the ETFs on the Toronto Stock Exchange in early 2012. The indexes it has licensed for these funds include four equity indexes; two broadly diversified, highly liquid bond indexes with exposure to Canadian and emerging market bonds; and, a fully collateralized futures index with diversified exposure to global markets through highly liquid exchange-listed futures contracts in commodities, currencies, and equities.

“We are extremely pleased to be able to leverage Morningstar indexes to develop new solutions for the Canadian ETF marketplace. The Morningstar indexes fit perfectly with First Asset and its subsidiary XTF Capital’s goal of delivering better risk-adjusted investment solutions to Canadian investors,” said Barry Gordon, president and CEO of First Asset.

“Canadian investment advisors and investors are sophisticated and require alternatives and complements to the market returns provided by traditional indexes. Offering these Morningstar indexes as ETFs allows us to address that need, and furthers our objective of providing the next dimension of ETFs to Canadians,” he added.

“We are pleased that First Asset has licensed our indexes for its new exchange-traded funds,” said Sanjay Arya, senior vice president of Morningstar Indexes. “The use of passive products in portfolio construction continues to evolve, and investors are increasingly seeking rules-based strategies that can harness market anomalies. Morningstar indexes draw on the wide range of investment research from across the company to deliver portfolio building blocks for investors to create diversified portfolios.”