Wal-Mart of ETF Providers Offers Most Bang for The Buck

December 10, 2013

The ETF market place offers many exotic choices, such as a Global Carbon ETF, Forensic Accounting ETF, and IPO ETF, but that’s not what makes ETFs attractive and efficient.

Yes, BMW may build an electric car, but their flagship product is the ultimate driving machine.

The flagship ETF product is a plain and simple index ETF. Who builds the best index ETF?

2013 Index ETF Inflows

Since 2010, Vanguards index ETF market share has grown from 15 to 20% while iShares (owned by BlackRock) and State Street bemoan small losses (datasource:Bloomberg).

In 2013 Vanguard ETFs grew by $51 billion, receiving 32 cents of every dollar invested.

Index ETF Fees

The average Vanguard ETF has an expense ratio of 0.14%, compared with 0.35% for State Street’s SPDRs and 0.39% for iShares’ ETFs.

This is not a true apples to apples fee comparison, as State Street and iShares offer some more specialized ETFs with higher fees.

What about the most popular S&P 500 ETF?

The bellwether SPDR S&P 500 ETF (SPY) has an expense ratio of 0.11%. The iShares Core S&P 500 ETF (IVV) comes in at 0.07%, while the Vanguard S&P 500 ETF (VOO) has a price tag of 0.05%.

View enlarged ETF comparison chart here


ETF Holdings

As per its patent, Vanguard is able to pool mutual fund and ETF assets and issue different shares (such as ETF).

As a result, Vanguard ETFs provide a more pure representation of the underlying index. On average, iShares ETF hold 312 securities, State Street ETFs 308, and Vanguard ETFs 1,171.

Unlike iShares and BlackRock, Vanguard is not a publicly traded company and doesn’t have to worry about pleasing Wall Street.

It All Doesn’t Matter, if …

… you buy at the wrong time.

Even if you have the best-in-class product, you will still lose money if you buy at the wrong time. Neither State Street, nor iShares or Vanguard will tell you when to buy (chances are any advisor will always tell you now is the best time to buy).

When is the right time to buy? Here are a few tips.

Buy Low, Sell High – How to Spot the Best S&P 500 Entry Points

Simon Maierhofer is the publisher of the Profit Radar Report. The Profit Radar Report presents complex market analysis (stocks, gold, silver, euro and bonds) in an easy format. Technical analysis, sentiment indicators, seasonal patterns and common sense are all wrapped up into two or more easy-to-read weekly updates. We are accountable for our work, because we track every recommendation.

Follow Simon on Twitter @ iSPYETF


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