Here’s how we think about the VAS and FAIR ETFs
The Vanguard VAS ETF provides exposure to the largest 300 Australian shares, based on market capitalisation. This is a low-cost way to access top Australian companies through a single fund.
The BetaShares FAIR ETF provides exposure to the largest Australian shares and focuses on companies which operate ethically. FAIR has been certified by the Responsible Investment Association Australasia (RIAA), as part of the Responsible Investment Certification Program.
Get our team’s VAS ETF review, available free when you click this link: access the free investment report.
ASX: VAS or ASX: FAIR performance
To make this article easier to digest, we’ll just study the fees or ‘management expense ratio’ (MER). Using data for December 2021, the VAS ETF has an MER of 0.10% while the FAIR ETF had a yearly fee of 0.49%. As a result, VAS comes out on top. Keep in mind, a more useful metric to know is the fee quartiles that these ETFs find themselves in (note: quartile 1 is best). Meaning, we take all the Australian shares ETFs in our database and classify them into 4 quartiles, based on their fees. For example, any ETF which has a fee below 0.3% would be considered in our first (best) quartile.
How we study past performance
Time to look at past returns. 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 attractive return one year just to generate unsatisfactory 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. Both ETFs have achieved our three-year performance hurdle. As of December 2021, the VAS ETF had an average annual return of 15.33%. During the same time, the FAIR ETF returned 15.22%.
For us, the VAS ETF ranks in a better position for our internal scoring methodology but not by much.
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 2022 in a free report. Keep reading to find out how to get our analyst’s report emailed to you right now…