Investing your money to get portfolio exposure to the Australian shares sector has never been easier thanks to ETFs such as the Betashares Geared Australian Equity Fund (Hedge Fund) ETF (ASX: GEAR). However, no matter how easy it seems to be, we think it’s still important to do your own ETF review.
1. What is the Betashares GEAR used for?
BetaShares GEAR Fund is an internally geared fund, investing in the largest 200 companies on the ASX, by market capitalisation.
2. Has it reached scale (FUM)?
As at the end of last month, the GEAR ETF had $147.99 million of money invested. Given GEAR’s total funds under management (FUM) figure is over $100 million, the ETF has met our minimum criteria for the total amount of money invested, otherwise known as FUM. We draw the line at $100 million for ETFs in the Australian shares sector because we believe that relative to smaller ETFs, achieving this amount of FUM derisks the ETF.
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3. GEAR ETF fees explained
With a yearly management fee of 0.8% charged by Betashares, if you invested $2,000 in the GEAR ETF for a full year you could expect to pay management fees of around $16.00. This does not include any performance fees earned by the ETF’s manager for doing a good job. For context, the average management fee (MER) of all ETFs covered by Best ETFs Australia on our complete list of ASX ETFs is 0.54% or around $10.80 per $2,000 invested. Keep in mind, small changes in fees can make a big difference after 10 or 20 years.
In addition to a yearly management fee, there are other costs investors must consider, including brokerage and taxes. A specific cost for ETF and mFund investors to consider is the buy-sell spread, which is the slippage or ‘invisible’ cost paid by an investor when he or she buys or sells the ETF. For the GEAR ETF, the most recent average monthly buy-sell spread we gathered (April 2020) was 0.33%. Remember, the lower (or ‘tighter’) the buy-sell spread, the better. This buy-sell spread was below the average ETF spread of 0.51%, so that’s a good thing.
What to do now
Before testing the water with both feet or diving straight into buying the GEAR ETF, please read the ETF’s Product Disclosure Statement (PDS). Also, be sure to take a look at our Betashares GEAR report. While you’re on our website, use our complete list of ASX ETFs to search for a few different ETFs in the sector and conduct a side-by-side comparison using everything you’ve learned here.