Designed to provide broad exposure to the Broad Developed World ETFs category of the market, the iShares Edge MSCI Multifactor Intl ETF (INTF) is a smart beta exchange traded fund launched on 04/28/2015.
What Are Smart Beta ETFs?
Products that are based on market cap weighted indexes, which are strategies designed to reflect a specific market segment or the market as a whole, have traditionally dominated the ETF industry.
Because market cap weighted indexes provide a low-cost, convenient, and transparent way of replicating market returns, they work well for investors who believe in market efficiency.
There are some investors, though, who think it's possible to beat the market with great stock selection; this group likely invests in another class of funds known as smart beta, which track non-cap weighted strategies.
These indexes attempt to select stocks that have better chances of risk-return performance, based on certain fundamental characteristics or a combination of such characteristics.
Even though this space provides many choices to investors--think one of the simplest methodologies like equal-weighting and more complicated ones like fundamental and volatility/momentum based weighting--not all have been able to deliver first-rate results.
Fund Sponsor & Index
Because the fund has amassed over $1.02 B, this makes it one of the larger ETFs in the Broad Developed World ETFs. INTF is managed by Blackrock. INTF, before fees and expenses, seeks to match the performance of the MSCI World ex USA Diversified Multi-Factor Index.
The MSCI World ex USA Diversified Multi-Factor Index is designed to select equity securities from MSCI World ex USA Index that have high exposure to four investment style factors: value, quality, momentum and low size, while maintaining a level of risk similar to that of the Parent Index.
Cost & Other Expenses
When considering an ETF's total return, expense ratios are an important factor. And, cheaper funds can significantly outperform their more expensive cousins in the long term if all other factors remain equal.
Operating expenses on an annual basis are 0.30% for INTF, making it one of the cheaper products in the space.
It's 12-month trailing dividend yield comes in at 3.33%.
Sector Exposure and Top Holdings
ETFs offer diversified exposure and thus minimize single stock risk, but it is still important to delve into a fund's holdings before investing. Most ETFs are very transparent products and many disclose their holdings on a daily basis.
When you look at individual holdings, Amadeus It Group Sa (AMS) accounts for about 2.62% of the fund's total assets, followed by Axa Sa (CS) and Hitachi Ltd.
INTF's top 10 holdings account for about 17.87% of its total assets under management.
Performance and Risk
The ETF has lost about -6.99% and is down about -3.37% so far this year and in the past one year (as of 10/11/2018), respectively. INTF has traded between $26.47 and $31.08 during this last 52-week period.
The ETF has a beta of 0.92 and standard deviation of 13.87% for the trailing three-year period, making it a medium risk choice in the space. With about 246 holdings, it effectively diversifies company-specific risk.
IShares Edge MSCI Multifactor Intl ETF is a reasonable option for investors seeking to outperform the Broad Developed World ETFs segment of the market. However, there are other ETFs in the space which investors could consider.
Vanguard FTSE All-World ex-US ETF (VEU) tracks FTSE All-World ex US Index and the Vanguard FTSE Developed Markets ETF (VEA) tracks FTSE Developed All Cap ex US Index. Vanguard FTSE All-World ex-US ETF has $21.60 B in assets, Vanguard FTSE Developed Markets ETF has $67.48 B. VEU has an expense ratio of 0.11% and VEA charges 0.07%.
Investors looking for cheaper and lower-risk options should consider traditional market cap weighted ETFs that aim to match the returns of the Broad Developed World ETFs.
To learn more about this product and other ETFs, screen for products that match your investment objectives and read articles on latest developments in the ETF investing universe, please visit Zacks ETF Center .
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