Should iShares MSCI USA SmallCap Multifactor ETF (SMLF) Be on Your Investing Radar?

The iShares MSCI USA SmallCap Multifactor ETF (SMLF) was launched on 04/28/2015, and is a passively managed exchange traded fund designed to offer broad exposure to the Small Cap Blend segment of the US equity market.

The fund is sponsored by Blackrock. It has amassed assets over $974.18 million, making it one of the larger ETFs attempting to match the Small Cap Blend segment of the US equity market.

Why Small Cap Blend

Sitting at a market capitalization below $2 billion, small cap companies tend to be high-potential stocks compared to its large and mid cap counterparts, but come with higher risk.

Blend ETFs are aptly named, since they tend to hold a mix of growth and value stocks, as well as show characteristics of both kinds of equities.

Costs

Cost is an important factor in selecting the right ETF, and cheaper funds can significantly outperform their more expensive counterparts if all other fundamentals are the same.

Annual operating expenses for this ETF are 0.15%, making it one of the cheaper products in the space.

It has a 12-month trailing dividend yield of 1.22%.

Sector Exposure and Top Holdings

It is important to delve into an ETF's holdings before investing despite the many upsides to these kinds of funds like diversified exposure, which minimizes single stock risk. And, most ETFs are very transparent products that disclose their holdings on a daily basis.

This ETF has heaviest allocation to the Information Technology sector--about 19.30% of the portfolio. Healthcare and Financials round out the top three.

Looking at individual holdings, Ovintiv Inc (OVV) accounts for about 1.28% of total assets, followed by United Therapeutics Corp (UTHR) and Jones Lang Lasalle Inc (JLL).

The top 10 holdings account for about 3.33% of total assets under management.

Performance and Risk

SMLF seeks to match the performance of the MSCI USA Small Cap Diversified Multiple-Factor Index before fees and expenses. The MSCI USA Small Cap Diversified Multiple-Factor Index is designed to select equity securities from MSCI USA Small Cap Index that have high exposure to four investment style factors: value, quality, momentum and low size.

The ETF has lost about -12.42% so far this year and is down about -10.58% in the last one year (as of 12/26/2022). In the past 52-week period, it has traded between $44.10 and $57.97.

The ETF has a beta of 1.09 and standard deviation of 29.39% for the trailing three-year period, making it a high risk choice in the space. With about 504 holdings, it effectively diversifies company-specific risk.

Alternatives

IShares MSCI USA SmallCap Multifactor ETF carries a Zacks ETF Rank of 3 (Hold), which is based on expected asset class return, expense ratio, and momentum, among other factors. Thus, SMLF is a sufficient option for those seeking exposure to the Style Box - Small Cap Blend area of the market. Investors might also want to consider some other ETF options in the space.

The iShares Russell 2000 ETF (IWM) and the iShares Core S&P SmallCap ETF (IJR) track a similar index. While iShares Russell 2000 ETF has $53.05 billion in assets, iShares Core S&P SmallCap ETF has $65.03 billion. IWM has an expense ratio of 0.19% and IJR charges 0.06%.

Bottom-Line

Retail and institutional investors increasingly turn to passively managed ETFs because they offer low costs, transparency, flexibility, and tax efficiency; these kind of funds are also excellent vehicles for long term investors.

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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iShares MSCI USA SmallCap Multifactor ETF (SMLF): ETF Research Reports

Jones Lang LaSalle Incorporated (JLL) : Free Stock Analysis Report

United Therapeutics Corporation (UTHR) : Free Stock Analysis Report

iShares Russell 2000 ETF (IWM): ETF Research Reports

iShares Core S&P SmallCap ETF (IJR): ETF Research Reports

Ovintiv Inc. (OVV) : Free Stock Analysis Report

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Zacks Investment Research

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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