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A Rough Ride on BRIC Road

Funds stumble trying to capitalize on a big idea.

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Goldman Sachs recently announced that Jim O'Neill, chairman of Goldman Sachs Asset Management, is retiring. As every article about his impending departure noted, O'Neill gained attention for coining the BRIC acronym in November 2001. In a Goldman Sachs research paper, he argued that because Brazil, Russia, India, and China were so important economically, and would become even more so in the coming decade, they should have a place in global decision-making bodies such as the G7.

Criticism of the BRIC concept soon arose. Why lump together such disparate countries, ignoring other fast-growing emerging markets, and assign them an easy-to-remember acronym, unless there's more than a hint of self-promotion involved?  Was this just Goldman Sachs trying to essentially trademark the idea that China and other big emerging markets would continue to grow?

Gregg Wolper does not own (actual or beneficial) shares in any of the securities mentioned above. Find out about Morningstar’s editorial policies.