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MSCI All Country World Index (ACWI)


The MSCI All Country World Index (ACWI) is a market-capitalization-weighted index designed by Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) to provide a broad measure of stock performance throughout the world. It includes both developed and emerging economies. Essentially, it provides a comprehensive overview of the global stock market by including countries from both the developed and developing worlds.


The phonetics for MSCI All Country World Index (ACWI) are: – Em-Es-See-Eye All Country World Index (Ay-See-Dub-uh-yoo-Eye).

Key Takeaways

  1. Global Exposure: The MSCI All Country World Index (ACWI) provides exposure to a broad range of stocks across the globe. The index includes developed and emerging market countries and gives investors a way to diversify their portfolio internationally.
  2. Largest Companies: The index is made of more than 3,000 companies from different countries. This includes mostly largest publicly traded companies. Therefore, it gives an overview of the global economic health based on the performance of these large corporations.
  3. Performance Indicator: The MSCI ACWI is commonly used by institutional investors around the world as a performance benchmark. It’s a gauge often used to compare the performance of global equity portfolios, and to understand market trends worldwide.


The MSCI All Country World Index (ACWI) is a crucial financial term because it represents the performance of the full range of global stocks and is considered a valuable tool for understanding the global market. It consists of 23 developed and 26 emerging markets. Financial analysts and investors use the MSCI ACWI to measure and compare the performance of major stocks from around the globe. Therefore, this index provides a comprehensive, transparent, and accessible way to assess investment opportunities and risks, helping investors make informed decisions. Its importance lies in its broad scope and inclusivity, ensuring a reliable international benchmark.


The MSCI All Country World Index (ACWI) functions as a critical tool in financial and investment realms for capturing the performance of the entire global stock market. Composed of large and mid-cap companies across 23 developed and 27 emerging markets, this index offers a comprehensive view of the current standing of global equities. Its prime objective is to represent the performance of all investable equity markets worldwide, providing investment professionals with a touchstone to compare the performance of their portfolios and identify global investment opportunities.In essence, the ACWI allows for global market comparison and asset allocation. Portfolio managers can efficiently plan their investment strategies around this index as it gives them a broader view of the overall market trend globally, up-to-date data on stock performance, and the ability to discern between market sectors, regions, and countries. These insights ultimately enable better decision making during portfolio management. Likewise, investors can use this index as a benchmark to ascertain how well their investments are performing against the global markets. The MSCI ACWI is applicable in various investment vehicles such as ETFs, futures, options, and structured products.


1. BlackRock Asset Management: BlackRock, a global asset management company, offers an investment product titled “iShares MSCI ACWI ETF.” This exchange-traded fund (ETF) is designed to track the performance of the MSCI All Country World Index (ACWI), providing investors with a diversified portfolio that captures large and mid-cap representation across 23 Developed Markets and 27 Emerging Markets countries.2. Vanguard Group: Another investment management giant, Vanguard, also has a fund mimicking the ACWI – “Vanguard Total World Stock ETF.” Thus, investors in this fund are indirectly investing in the performance of companies in both developed and emerging markets, echoing the geographic diversity and wide-ranging equity exposure of the MSCI ACWI.3. Pension Funds: Several global pension funds invest a portion of their capital in instruments that track the MSCI ACWI. This allows them to achieve a balanced and diversified portfolio, spreading risk across different market sectors and regions. For example, the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS), the largest public pension fund in the U.S., allocates part of its global equity investment to funds that track the MSCI ACWI.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is the MSCI All Country World Index (ACWI)?

The MSCI All Country World Index (ACWI) is a stock index that captures large and mid-cap representation across 23 Developed Markets (DM) and 27 Emerging Markets (EM) countries. It covers approximately 85% of the global investable equity opportunity set.

What is the purpose of the MSCI ACWI?

MSCI ACWI is employed as a benchmarking tool by investors to gauge the performance of their own portfolios and is often used as the standard for many index funds and ETFs.

Which countries are included in the MSCI ACWI?

The MSCI ACWI includes 23 developed markets, such as the United States, Japan, and the United Kingdom, as well as 27 emerging markets, including countries like Brazil, India, and China, altogether covering 85% of the indexed equities.

How is the MSCI ACWI weighted?

The MSCI ACWI is a market capitalization weighted index, which means companies with larger market caps have a bigger influence on the index’s overall performance.

How often is the MSCI ACWI updated?

The MSCI ACWI is reviewed quarterly—February, May, August, and November—with the objective of reflecting changes in the underlying equity markets in a timely manner.

How can one invest in the MSCI ACWI?

While you can’t directly invest in the index, you can invest in index funds and ETFs that track the MSCI ACWI. It’s important to note that such investments carry a similar degree of risk as investing in the stock market.

What kind of returns does the MSCI ACWI provide?

The returns from the MSCI ACWI depend on the performance of the underlying markets and companies. The Index is highly diversified across countries and sectors, which can help smooth returns but it does not guarantee positive returns.

Why is the MSCI ACWI important to investors?

The MSCI ACWI is important because it provides a broad measure of global stock market performance. It enables investors to gauge the health of global equity markets and provides a benchmark for comparing individual portfolio performance.

Related Finance Terms

  • Global Equity
  • Emerging Markets
  • Developed Markets
  • Equity Portfolio Diversification
  • Market Capitalization

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