This issue’s focus is heavily on mutual funds. However, mutual funds may not be for everyone. Often, investors may benefit from using lower cost, passively managed exchange-traded fundsinstead of higher cost, actively managed mutual funds. In recent years, the ETF universe has expanded dramatically. Numerous websites have also been created to help investors research and choose the most suitable exchange-traded funds. In this issue’s On the Internet, we take a close look at a few of the top websites for ETF data.
ETF Database provides a wealth of ETF information and has two levels of service. The website offers most of its information free of charge, but certain features are only available to Pro subscribers.
At the top right of the website, the search box allows users to access ETF information by ticker or keyword. Extensive data is provided for each fund. In addition to common ETF information such as category, expense ratio and issuer, the website also provides summary and trading data. Information on the holdings in the ETF, a fact sheet (summary in a printable page), charts, returns, technical indicators, category reports and real-time ratings are also provided for each ETF that the website covers. The charts are simple and only include options for bar, line and candlestick charts, but the period of the charts can be as frequent as five minutes. The ETF category report allows users to compare ETFs that are in the same category. The Realtime Ratings tab shows grades for liquidity, expenses, performance, volatility, dividend and concentration as well as giving an overall rating. The ETF category report and ETF Realtime Ratings are only available to Pro subscribers.
ETF Database is one of the few sites that offer a news section completely dedicated to exchange-traded funds. Furthermore, you can sign up for a free daily newsletter that will send tips and strategies, the latest news and links to resources directly to your inbox.
The site offers several tools, including an ETF screener, ETF country exposure identifier, ETF stock exposure identifier and a mutual fund-to-ETF converter. The country and stock exposure tools will show you the ETFs that have high exposure to a given country or stock, allowing you to invest in areas you are lacking or eliminate portfolio redundancies.
If you find that the data and tools offered at the site for free are not complete enough for you, an ETF Database Pro subscription is offered for $199 per year ($19 per month). It includes an ETF Edge monthly newsletter, ETF category reports, model portfolios and analyst Q&As. A Pro screener with the ability to export results to Excel is also included in the Pro package.
XTF has managed to keep up with the expansion in ETFs: The website boasts that it covers 100% of the entire U.S. exchange-traded products marketplace. A big advantage that XTF has over other ETF sites is that it lacks any noticeable ads. It also offers several levels of membership—free, free with registration, gold ($39 per month) and platinum $99 per month).
The website’s layout is very simple. At the middle of the webpage, users are able to search for ETFs using their ticker symbols. General ETF data is presented—such as issuer, asset classes and capitalization—at the top of the page. At the bottom of the page, ETF data is broken down into structural integrity, investment metrics, fund holdings, fund exposure and news headlines. Structural integrity includes data points such as tracking error, concentration risk, market impact and efficiency and also offers each data point’s percentile rank among all equity ETFs over the past six months. Investment metrics presented include investment ranking, risk-adjusted and non-risk adjusted returns and dividend yield, along with each data point’s percentile rankings. Percentile ranking figures are also provided for structural integrity and investment metrics in aggregate.
One of the best sections of XTF is the education center. Investors interested in learning more about how ETFs work should make use of this resource. The education center does a superb job of comparing mutual funds and ETFs, as well as summarizing the different types of ETFs and their investment strategies. Just keep in mind that this site caters to ETFs and, therefore, may not fully describe the advantages that traditional mutual funds may offer.
ETF Trends’ quote box is at the top right of the home page. The website currently offers data on 1,484 ETFs, and provides an “ETF Resume” for each that is divided into summary, chart, articles, prospectus, fact sheet, composition and holdings. These pages provide general information on ETFs and add some risk figures, such as alpha, beta and standard deviation. The website also allows users to download a prospectus and fact sheet in PDF format for any ETF.
More interestingly, ETF Trends provides a model portfolio area that offers five different model ETF portfolios catering to different investor profiles. The most aggressive portfolio is designed for those in their 20s investing aggressively for long-term growth and is made up of 50% U.S. equity, 45% international equity and 5% fixed-income ETFs. The most stable portfolio is designed for people in retirement and is made up of 70% fixed-income, 20% U.S. equity and 10% international equity ETFs. Each model portfolio contains specific ETFs and reports on performance for the portfolio.
ETF Trends also provides an ETF education area that can help you get started investing in ETFs. The community area includes a forum, podcasts, webcasts and videos.