The SPDR S&P/ASX Small Ordinaries Fund ETF (ASX: SSO) and Betashares Managed Risk Australian Share Fund (Managed Fund) ETF (ASX: AUST) are Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs) operating in the Australian shares sector, and aiming to make investing as simple as possible.
How would an investor add SSO to a portfolio?
The SPDR SSO ETF provides exposure to a diversified portfolio of Australian companies and tracks the S&P/ASX Small Ordinaries Index. SSO is designed to capture the performance of the top 200 Australian small companies based on market cap, ranking from 101 to 300.
According to our most recent data, the SSO ETF had $19.59 million of money invested. Given its funds under management (also known as FUM or ‘market cap’) is less than $100 million, you should consider if this ETF is still too small and if it is sustainable for the ETF issuer. At Best ETFs we say an ETF with more than $100 million invested is typically more sustainable than one with less than $100 million (at least). However, there are exceptions to this general rule, especially if the ETF issuer/provider is reputable and committed to growing the ETF’s FUM through effective marketing strategies and distribution to financial advisers.
Fees to consider
According to our numbers, the annual management fee on the SSO ETF is 0.5%. The issuer, SPDR, collects this fee automatically.
Meaning, if you invested $2,000 in the SSO ETF for a full year you could expect to pay management fees of around $10.00. This fee is different from the fee you pay to your brokerage provider (e.g. CommSec, NabTrade, SelfWealth, etc.), which is the fee to buy or sell the ETF. In addition to a management fee charged by the issuer, be mindful to check the ‘spread‘ for the ETF.
A fee comparison
Fees aren’t the only key consideration for ETF investors, but it’s an easy thing to do. To understand if the ETF you’re looking at is too costly, compare it with other ETFs from the same sector, and against the industry average. For example, the average management fee (MER) across all of the ETFs covered by the Best ETFs Australia team was 0.51%, which is $10.20 per $2,000 invested. Keep in mind that small changes in the fees paid can make a big difference after 10 or 20 years. You should read the SSO Product Disclosure Statement (PDS), available on the ETF issuer’s website, because it will detail the fees, tax implications and the latest information.
The SSO ETF could be one to add to your watchlist. If you want to access our full ETF review, click here to get our full report – it’s totally free.
Getting to know the AUST ETF
The BetaShares AUST Fund is an actively managed fund that passively tracks the ASX 200, while providing investors with a risk managed approach that aims to minimise volatility and protect against losses in declining markets.
With our numbers for July 2020, AUST’s FUM stood at $44.08 million. Given it has less than $100 million invested, ask yourself (or your adviser) if the ETF is still too small (and if you should wait to buy into it). If you’re concerned the ETF might not be established enough, compare it alongside one of the other Active ETF (e.g. ETMF) sector ETFs, using our full list of ETFs.
Are the fees for the AUST ETF bad?
Betashares, the ETF issuer, charges a yearly management fee of 0.49% for the AUST ETF. Meaning, if you invested $2,000 for a full 12-month period you could expect to pay a base management fee of around $9.80.
The management fee is above the average for all ETFs on our list of ASX ETFs, but keep in mind the ETF may be able to justify the higher price tag with superior performance over time.
Picking over ETFs seems too easy to be true: ‘just pick one and put it in your bottom-drawer’. However, it’s important to get it right the first time so that you won’t end up having to chop-and-change positions (and potentially pay extra tax). To make your life a little easier, if you’re looking at the AUST ETF, make sure you click here to access our analyst’s investment report. It’s free.