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Is First Trust Dow Jones Global Select Dividend ETF (FGD) a Strong ETF Right Now?

Sweta Killa

Designed to provide broad exposure to the Broad Developed World ETFs category of the market, the First Trust Dow Jones Global Select Dividend ETF (FGD) is a smart beta exchange traded fund launched on 11/21/2007.

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.

A good option for investors who believe in market efficiency, market cap weighted indexes offer a low-cost, convenient, and transparent way of replicating market returns.

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.

Non-cap weighted indexes try to choose stocks that have a better chance of risk-return performance, which is based on specific fundamental characteristics, or a mix of other such characteristics.

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

Because the fund has amassed over $351.87 M, this makes it one of the average sized ETFs in the Broad Developed World ETFs. FGD is managed by First Trust Advisors. Before fees and expenses, FGD 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 0.58%, which makes it one of the more expensive products in the space.

FGD's 12-month trailing dividend yield is 8.18%.

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.

Looking at individual holdings, Be Semiconductor Industries N.v. (BESI.NA) accounts for about 2.08% of total assets, followed by Standard Life Aberdeen Plc (SLA.LN) and Azimut Holding Spa (AZM.IM).

Its top 10 holdings account for approximately 16.67% of FGD's total assets under management.

Performance and Risk

The ETF has lost about -41.72% so far this year and is down about -34.04% in the last one year (as of 03/23/2020). In the past 52-week period, it has traded between $14.54 and $25.20.

The ETF has a beta of 0.85 and standard deviation of 18.98% for the trailing three-year period, making it a low risk choice in the space. With about 98 holdings, it effectively diversifies company-specific risk.

Alternatives

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 $7.93 B in assets, Vanguard Total World Stock ETF has $9.50 B. 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.

Bottom Line

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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