Is 2021 going to be the year to invest in ASX ETFs like the Vanguard Ethically Conscious Global Aggregate Bond Index (Hedged) ETF (ASX: VEFI) and BetaShares Ethical Diversified Growth ETF (ASX: DGGF)?
How an Aussie (or Kiwi!) investor can use the VEFI ETF
The Vanguard VEFI ETF provides investors with exposure to high-quality debt securities issued by governments, government-owned and government-guaranteed entities, and investment-grade corporate issuers from global markets. This ethical ETF excludes issuers with significant business activities in fossil fuels, alcohol, tobacco, gambling, weapons, nuclear power, and adult entertainment.
According to our most recent data, the VEFI ETF had $37 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 VEFI ETF is 0.26%. The issuer, Vanguard, collects this fee automatically.
Meaning, if you invested $2,000 in the VEFI ETF for a full year you could expect to pay management fees of around $5.20. 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 0.5%, which is $10.00 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 VEFI Product Disclosure Statement (PDS), available on the ETF issuer’s website, because it will detail the fees, tax implications and the latest information.
You can get a copy of our free investment review when click here to see the VEFI ETF report.
Key facts about the DGGF ETF
The BetaShares DGGF ETF provides investors with a diversified portfolio of ethical assets, including shares and bonds, by screening out unethical industries and giving preference to sustainable companies.
With our numbers for December 2020, DGGF’s FUM stood at $3.78 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 Ethical sector ETFs, using our full list of ETFs.
Are the fees for the DGGF ETF bad?
BetaShares, the ETF issuer, charges a yearly management fee of 0.26% for the DGGF ETF. Meaning, if you invested $2,000 for a full 12-month period you could expect to pay a base management fee of around $5.20.
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.
Get the full DGGF review available on our website by clicking this link to access our report.