Making its debut on 12/08/2015, smart beta exchange traded fund iShares Emerging Markets Equit (EMGF) provides investors broad exposure to the Broad Emerging Market ETFs category of the market.
What Are Smart Beta ETFs?
For a long time now, the ETF industry has been flooded with products based on market capitalization weighted indexes, which are designed to represent the broader market or a particular market segment.
Investors who believe in market efficiency should consider market cap indexes, as they replicate market returns in a low-cost, convenient, and transparent way.
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.
By attempting to pick stocks that have a better chance of risk-return performance, non-cap weighted indexes are based on certain fundamental characteristics, or a combination of such.
Methodologies like equal-weighting, one of the simplest options out there, fundamental weighting, and volatility/momentum based weighting are all choices offered to investors in this space, but not all of them can deliver superior returns.
Fund Sponsor & Index
The fund is managed by Blackrock, and has been able to amass over $897.90 million, which makes it one of the larger ETFs in the Broad Emerging Market ETFs. EMGF, before fees and expenses, seeks to match the performance of the MSCI Emerging Markets Diversified Multiple-Factor Index.
The MSCI Emerging Market Diversified Multiple-Factor Index is composed of stocks of large and mid-capitalization companies in emerging markets that have favourable exposure to target style factors subject to constraints.
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.
Annual operating expenses for EMGF are 0.25%, which makes it one of the cheaper products in the space.
The fund has a 12-month trailing dividend yield of 4.04%.
Sector Exposure and Top Holdings
Even though ETFs offer diversified exposure which minimizes single stock risk, it is still important to look into a fund's holdings before investing. Luckily, most ETFs are very transparent products that disclose their holdings on a daily basis.
Taking into account individual holdings, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing accounts for about 6.13% of the fund's total assets, followed by Tencent Holdings Ltd and Samsung Electronics Ltd.
EMGF's top 10 holdings account for about 23.5% of its total assets under management.
Performance and Risk
The ETF has lost about -0.10% so far this year and is down about -8.10% in the last one year (as of 05/01/2023). In the past 52-week period, it has traded between $38.04 and $46.91.
The ETF has a beta of 0.73 and standard deviation of 18.23% for the trailing three-year period. With about 621 holdings, it effectively diversifies company-specific risk.
IShares Emerging Markets Equit is a reasonable option for investors seeking to outperform the Broad Emerging Market ETFs segment of the market. However, there are other ETFs in the space which investors could consider.
IShares Core MSCI Emerging Markets ETF (IEMG) tracks MSCI Emerging Markets Investable Market Index and the Vanguard FTSE Emerging Markets ETF (VWO) tracks FTSE Emerging Markets All Cap China A Inclusion Index. IShares Core MSCI Emerging Markets ETF has $69.55 billion in assets, Vanguard FTSE Emerging Markets ETF has $71.53 billion. IEMG has an expense ratio of 0.09% and VWO 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 Emerging Market 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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