Making its debut on 11/21/2007, smart beta exchange traded fund First Trust Dow Jones Global Select Dividend ETF (FGD) provides investors broad exposure to the Broad Developed World ETFs category of the market.
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.
Market cap weighted indexes offer a low-cost, convenient, and transparent way of replicating market returns, and are a good option for investors who believe in market efficiency.
On the other hand, some investors who believe that it is possible to beat the market by superior stock selection opt to invest in another class of funds that track non-cap weighted strategies--popularly known as smart beta.
Based on specific fundamental characteristics, or a combination of such, these indexes attempt to pick stocks that have a better chance of risk-return performance.
While this space offers a number of choices to investors, including simplest equal-weighting, fundamental weighting and volatility/momentum based weighting methodologies, not all these strategies have been able to deliver superior results.
Fund Sponsor & Index
FGD is managed by First Trust Advisors, and this fund has amassed over $384.81 million, which makes it one of the average sized ETFs in the Broad Developed World ETFs. FGD, before fees and expenses, seeks to match the performance of the Dow Jones Global Select Dividend Index.
This Index is an indicated annual dividend yield weighted index of 100 stocks selected from the developed-market portion of the Dow Jones World Index.
Cost & Other Expenses
Expense ratios are an important factor in the return of an ETF and in the long-term, cheaper funds can significantly outperform their more expensive cousins, other things remaining the same.
Annual operating expenses for FGD are 0.59%, which makes it one of the more expensive products in the space.
FGD's 12-month trailing dividend yield is 9.26%.
Sector Exposure and Top Holdings
Even though ETFs offer diversified exposure that minimizes single stock risk, investors should also look at the actual holdings inside the fund. Luckily, most ETFs are very transparent products that disclose their holdings on a daily basis.
When you look at individual holdings, Be Semiconductor Industries N.v. (BESI.NA) accounts for about 2.72% of the fund's total assets, followed by Jb Hi-Fi Limited (JBH.AU) and Azimut Holding Spa (AZM.IM).
Its top 10 holdings account for approximately 19.33% of FGD's total assets under management.
Performance and Risk
The ETF has lost about -31.90% so far this year and is down about -24.62% in the last one year (as of 05/29/2020). In the past 52-week period, it has traded between $13.90 and $25.20.
The ETF has a beta of 0.99 and standard deviation of 22.63% for the trailing three-year period, making it a low risk choice in the space. With about 91 holdings, it effectively diversifies company-specific risk.
First Trust Dow Jones Global Select Dividend 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.
IShares MSCI ACWI ETF (ACWI) tracks MSCI All Country World Index and the Vanguard Total World Stock ETF (VT) tracks FTSE Global All Cap Index. IShares MSCI ACWI ETF has $11.04 billion in assets, Vanguard Total World Stock ETF has $13.09 billion. ACWI has an expense ratio of 0.32% and VT charges 0.08%.
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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First Trust Dow Jones Global Select Dividend ETF (FGD): ETF Research Reports
iShares MSCI ACWI ETF (ACWI): ETF Research Reports
Vanguard Total World Stock ETF (VT): ETF Research Reports
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