"In each of the last 10 years, there' s been a great shift in all portfolios to having a larger percentage invested internationally," says Kenneth A. Lopian, senior vice president in charge of Bank of New York' s ADR unit. In addition to being a well-oiled, highly efficient processing machine, it is a window on world investments.

One reason for investor enthusiasm for ADRs, Mr. Lopian adds, is that the stock is issued from countries whose economies are growing faster than the United States.

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