What do the SLF and A200 ETFs do?
The SLF ETF by SPDR invests in shares/securities of listed real estate investment trusts (REITs). Investors can use these property-focused ETFs to get exposure to a broad basket of trusts and companies exposed to property, including office spaces, commercial rental spaces and construction projects.
The Betashares A200 ETF provides exposure to the largest 200 Australian companies, based on market capitalisation. Unlike many other Australian shares ETFs, A200 uses the Solactive Australia 200 Index. This is virtually the same thing as the indices provided by S&P/ASX, as it also uses a market capitalisation weighting.
If you like the look of the SLF ETF, check out our free SLF ETF report.
One of the easy ways we compare ETFs such as A200 and SLF at Best ETFs and Rask Austalia is by analysing the fees and costs of an ETF. Internally, we score ETFs based on management fees, plus indirect costs and we take into account the buy-sell spread. We like to look at the ‘all-in’ costs of buying and owning an ETF.
We’ll keep it basic and just study the fees. Based on our data for December 2020, the SLF ETF has a management expense ratio (MER) of 0.40% while the A200 ETF’s yearly fee was 0.07%. Therefore, A200 wins on this one. That said, a more useful metric to know is the fee quartiles that these ETFs find themselves in (note: quartile 1 is best). For example, any ETF which has a fee below 0.3% would be considered in our first (best) quartile.
Show me the money
It’s time to study the track record. Keep in mind, performance isn’t everything — and past performance is not indicative of future performance. It’s just one part of a much bigger picture. The reason we say performance is not everything is because of volatility of financial markets and the economy from one year to the next. Some ETFs and funds can put in a compelling return one year just to generate subpar returns the next time around. That’s why we prefer three-year or seven-year track records over one-year track records. It can smooth out the temporary performances caused by external factors. SLF had notched up a three-year average annual return of 5.49% in the period through December 2020. At that time, however, the A200 ETF had not yet reached its three-year performance milestone. Past performance is not indicative of future performance for many reasons, this is just one part of our quick analysis (as you can see there’s a lot more to it!).
Finally, at Best ETFs Australia, we apply a rating to the ETF issuer or provider. That is, the company that starts and is responsible for operating the ETF on the ASX. There are too many considerations that go into our scoring to detail here. The issuer of SLF is SPDR. SPDR ranks highly for our scores of ETF providers and issuers in Australia. We think SPDR is one of Australia’s top 10 ETF providers for advisers and institutions, and its ETFs on the ASX provide good exposure to particular financial markets for retail investors.
Best ETFs Takeaway
For us, the A200 ETF rates greater against our internal scoring methodology, but only just.
We hope this article helped you analyse ETFs. Don’t forget, there’s a lot more to investing well than what we just outlined (risks, diversification, other potentially better ETFs, etc.). Our analyst team at Rask Australia spends months looking at new ASX investments (it’s our day job!). To make your life easier, you can get the name of our team’s top ETF pick for 2021 in a free report. Keep reading to find out how to get our analyst’s report emailed to you right now…