What you need to know about the Russell Investments RARI ETF (ASX:RARI) and Vanguard VSO ETF (ASX:VSO)

The Russell Investments Australian Responsible Investment ETF (ASX: RARI) and Vanguard MSCI Australian Small Companies Index ETF (ASX: VSO) 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 RARI to a portfolio?

The Russell Investments RARI ETF invests in companies that demonstrate positive environmental, social and governance (ESG) characteristics. RARI also negatively screens out companies that have significant involvement in activities that are deemed inconsistent with responsible investment considerations.

According to our most recent data, the RARI ETF had $284.7 million of money invested. With RARI’s total funds under management (FUM) figure over $100 million, the ETF meets our team’s minimum investment criteria for FUM levels. As a general rule, our team draws 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 lowers the chance that the ETF issuer will close the ETF.

Fees to consider

According to our numbers, the annual management fee on the RARI ETF is 0.45%. The issuer, Russell Investments, collects this fee automatically.

Meaning, if you invested $2,000 in the RARI ETF for a full year you could expect to pay management fees of around $9.00. 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 RARI Product Disclosure Statement (PDS), available on the ETF issuer’s website, because it will detail the fees, tax implications and the latest information.

The RARI 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 VSO ETF

The Vanguard VSO ETF provides exposure to a diversified portfolio of Australian small caps and tracks the MSCI Australian Shares Small Cap Index. This is a low-cost way to access the performance of Australian small-cap shares through a single fund.

With our numbers for December 2021, VSO’s FUM stood at $723.46 million. Since the VSO’s FUM is over $100 million, our investing team would say the ETF has met our minimum criteria for the total amount invested, otherwise known as FUM. A very sustainable ETF in the Index sector should be able to scale well and become profitable for the ETF issuer.

Are the fees for the VSO ETF bad?

Vanguard, the ETF issuer, charges a yearly management fee of 0.30% for the VSO ETF. Meaning, if you invested $2,000 for a full 12-month period you could expect to pay a base management fee of around $6.00.

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 VSO ETF, make sure you click here to access our analyst’s investment report. It’s free.

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From 200+ ETFs in Australia, our top investment analyst has just identified his #1 ETF for 2021 and beyond.

Low fees? Check.

Long-term growth potential? Check.

Regular cash returns? Check!

This ETF makes investing in ETFs "Super-Easy".

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