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Is WisdomTree Japan SmallCap Dividend Fund (DFJ) a Strong ETF Right Now?

Sweta Killa

The WisdomTree Japan SmallCap Dividend Fund (DFJ) made its debut on 06/16/2006, and is a smart beta exchange traded fund that provides broad exposure to the Asia-Pacific (Developed) ETFs category of the market.

What Are Smart Beta ETFs?

The ETF industry has traditionally been dominated by products based on market capitalization weighted indexes that are designed to represent the market or a particular segment of the market.

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.

However, some investors believe in the possibility of beating the market through exceptional stock selection, and choose a different type of fund that tracks non-cap weighted strategies: 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.

The smart beta space gives investors many different choices, from equal-weighting, one of the simplest strategies, to more complicated ones like fundamental and volatility/momentum based weighting. However, not all of these methodologies have been able to deliver remarkable returns.

Fund Sponsor & Index

The fund is managed by Wisdomtree, and has been able to amass over $433.44 M, which makes it one of the average sized ETFs in the Asia-Pacific (Developed) ETFs. DFJ seeks to match the performance of the WisdomTree Japan SmallCap Dividend Index before fees and expenses.

WisdomTree Japan SmallCap Dividend Index measures the performance of dividend-paying small capitalization companies in Japan. After the 300 largest companies have been removed from the WisdomTree Japan Dividend Index, the remaining companies are chosen for inclusion in the Index. Companies are weighted in the Index based on annual cash dividends paid.

Cost & Other Expenses

Since cheaper funds tend to produce better results than more expensive funds, assuming all other factors remain equal, it is important for investors to pay attention to an ETF's expense ratio.

With one of the more expensive products in the space, this ETF has annual operating expenses of 0.58%.

DFJ's 12-month trailing dividend yield is 2.07%.

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.

When you look at individual holdings, Haseko Corp accounts for about 1.25% of the fund's total assets, followed by Matsui Securities Co Ltd and Aozora Bank Ltd.

Its top 10 holdings account for approximately 7.43% of DFJ's total assets under management.

Performance and Risk

So far this year, DFJ has added roughly 9.03%, and is down about -2.66% in the last one year (as of 10/15/2019). During this past 52-week period, the fund has traded between $60.90 and $73.87.

DFJ has a beta of 0.68 and standard deviation of 13.44% for the trailing three-year period, which makes the fund a medium risk choice in the space. With about 820 holdings, it effectively diversifies company-specific risk.

Alternatives

WisdomTree Japan SmallCap Dividend Fund is an excellent option for investors seeking to outperform the Asia-Pacific (Developed) ETFs segment of the market. There are other ETFs in the space which investors could consider as well.

JPMorgan BetaBuilders Japan ETF (BBJP) tracks MORNINGSTAR JAPAN TRGT MRKT EXPOSURE ID and the iShares MSCI Japan ETF (EWJ) tracks MSCI Japan Index. JPMorgan BetaBuilders Japan ETF has $4.17 B in assets, iShares MSCI Japan ETF has $11.95 B. BBJP has an expense ratio of 0.19% and EWJ charges 0.47%.

Investors looking for cheaper and lower-risk options should consider traditional market cap weighted ETFs that aim to match the returns of the Asia-Pacific (Developed) 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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WisdomTree Japan SmallCap Dividend Fund (DFJ): ETF Research Reports
 
iShares MSCI Japan ETF (EWJ): ETF Research Reports
 
JPMorgan BetaBuilders Japan ETF (BBJP): ETF Research Reports
 
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