Toronto-based Horizons ETFs Management (Canada) Inc. has announced the launch of Horizons Robotics and Automation Index ETF, which provides global exposure to the rapidly growing robotics and automation industry.

The ETF has closed its initial offering of units and began trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Nov. 29.

For the ETF, Horizons has partnered with Dallas-based ROBO Global LLC, an investment research and index provider that launched the original U.S.-domiciled ROBO Global Robotics and Automation ETF in August 2013, along with its underlying index.

The new ETF seeks to replicate the performance of the ROBO Global robotics and automation index. Consisting of more than 80 stocks focused on the robotics and automation industry, the index includes securities from developing companies around the world. It uses specific investment criteria focused on companies that derive a portion of revenues and profits from robotics and automation-related products and services.

“We could be witnessing the more transformative technological change of our lifetime as robotics and automation start to become integral to much of what we do on a daily basis,” says Steve Hawkins, president and co-CEO of Horizons ETFs, in a statement.

“Despite the quick ascendency of the robotics, automation and artificial intelligence sectors, it’s still in its very early days,” he adds. “This could be the largest untapped investment opportunity for Canadian investors, particularly since very few likely own these stocks in their equity portfolios.”

The new ETF will primarily be invested in the equity securities of issuers within the index and will seek to hedge its U.S. currency exposure to the Canadian dollar at all times.

To date, the U.S. version of the robotics and automation ETF has been the fastest-growing ETF in the U.S. As of Jan. 1, 2017, the U.S. ETF had US$134.7 million in assets under management. By Oct. 31, 2017, the ETF had nearly US$1.7 billion in assets under management.

The global technology market is expected to reach US$82.7 billion by 2020, according to Portland, Ore.-based Allied Market Research, Horizons says in its announcement.

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