Understanding Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs)

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1 Level 7,34 Charles St Parramatta NSW 2150 PO Box 103 Parramatta NSW 2124 Phone: Fax: Web: Guide Build Protect Manage Wealth Understanding Exchange Traded Funds Fund (ETFs) Part of the: Wealth Education Series by Carnegie Financial Planning How to read this document Making smart decisions about your money to meet your daily needs and steer towards your long term goals can be a complex task. There are so many issues to consider such as taxation, legislation, protecting your wealth and an assets, associated costs involved with any decision, the inherent risks of choosing one path over others to achieve your money goals. Developing, Implementing and Acting on a Financial Plan to achieve your goals requires you to understand how these issues ues will impact on you and what you should expect over time. As your Financial Adviser, we will provide you with a Statement of Advice (SOA) this is a documented Financial Plan which sets out our advice to your and how it can achieve the goals and objectives objectives you share with us. This document provides some additional information to help you understand the financial planning concepts discussed during our Financial Planning Process and in your SOA. It is very important that you read this document to help you understand the benefits of the strategies recommended to you, and the associated costs and risks. If you do not understand something or need further clarification, please contact us. 1

2 This document has been published by Carnegie Financial Planning AFSL , registered address Level 7/34 Charles St Parramatta NSW 2150, ABN for use in conjunction with their Financial Planning Process and Statements of Advice prepared by Carnegie Financial Planning and its Authorised Representatives. This document contains general information about the benefits, costs and risks associated with certain product classes and strategies. It is designed for use in conjunction with a Statement of Advice that takes into account the circumstances and objectives of an individual. Before making a commitment to purchase or sell a financial product, you should ensure that you have obtained an individual Statement of Advice. As legislation may change you should ensure you have the most recent version of this document. What is an Exchange Traded Fund (ETF)? An Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) is a diversified portfolio of securities constructed using an index approach that can be traded on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX). Investors in an ETFs own units in a portfolio of listed securities. This means an ETF s returns, before costs, should closely match the index it tracks. ETFs deliver two sets of benefits to investors - the trading speed and flexibility of shares merged with the low-cost, diversification of index funds. This has made ETFs one of the fastest growing investment solutions in the world today, with hundreds of billions of dollars now invested globally using ETFs. source Vanguard Investments 2011 Australian investors currently have access to both domestic and cross-listed ETFs. Domestic ETFs are funds that have their primary listing on the local exchange (relative to the investor) such as the ASX for Australian investors. Cross-listed ETFs are ETFs that have a listing on a different exchange than their primary or original listing. ETFs have been traded around the world for more than 15 years with the first ETF in Australia launched in How ETFs Work ETFs are constructed using an indexing approach, so their value moves in line with the index they track. For example, a 2% rise or fall in the index would result in approximately a 2% rise or fall for an ETF which tracked that index (all other things being equal). Buying an ETF is an easy, fast and low cost way for investors to own a slice of that underlying portfolio, and benefit from changes in its value. You can buy or sell ETFs at any time on the ASX throughout the ASX trading day. 2

3 The Advantages and Disadvantages of ETFs Disadvantages track an index so they invest in "the Average" with no ability to outperform Transaction fees: brokerage on buys and sells can hurt smaller investors relative to managed funds Know your ETF and understand how it invests your money Advantages Low Cost relative to managed funds Diversification with broad exposure to the index Tax Efficiency with low turnover of securities and flow through of franking credits Liquidity with the ability to trade ETFs on the ASX Transperancy with regular valuations on the ASX representing the Net Asset Value of the tracked index Australian ETFs There are four types of ETFs available in Australia: 1. Those that track a regional index for example the IEM (ishares MSCI Emerging Markets Index ) 2. Those that track a single country index for example the STW (SPDR S&P ASX 200) 3. ETFs that provide exposure to a single sector in Australian or Globally like the SLF (SPDR S&P ASX 200 Property Fund). 4. ETFs that invest in a specific commodity or a basket of commodities like the GOLD (ETFS Physical Gold ) How ETFs Invest An ETF manager can gain exposure to an index or investment opportunity in three ways : 1. Buying the actual assets (and the proportion) that make up the index, this is called Full Replication. 2. Buying a financial instrument that performs like the index this is called Optimised Sampling o The ETF provider buys the underlying shares or other assets but enters into an additional derivatives contract, usually a swap, with a third party such as an investment bank, in return for a fee. o The swap arrangement acts like an insurance product whereby the bank chips in any shortfall between the ETF returns and the index it is tracking. o If the ETF outperforms the index, the bank receives money. 3. Through Synthetic Replication where derivatives or another investment instrument is used as the underlying investment to provide the exposure for the ETF. An example of this can be found in commodity based ETFs like a Gold ETF. In this regard Full replication and actually holding and trading Gold would be difficult to deliver Most of the ETFs available in Australia use Full Replication or an Optimised Sampling approach. 3

4 ETF fees and costs Index based ETFs are generally a low cost investment, and substantially lower in cost than investing in the same exposure of individually purchased shares. Imagine the brokerage cost of buying all 200 shares listed on the S&P ASX 200 separately versus the single brokerage to buy an ETF of the ASX 200. Because the funds are managed using an index approach the cost to manage is generally less than actively managed funds. Management fees A management fee applies to ETFs as with any other managed fund. This is a fee charged by the fund issuer, generally included in the unit price, covering all relevant fees and costs involved in managing the ETF. These fees and costs include things like custodian fees, accounting fees, audit fees and index license fees. Brokerage fees Brokerage fees charged by the broker each time you trade (purchase or sell) an ETF. These fees vary, starting from around $20 per transaction. Bid/Ask Spread This is amount by which the ask price exceeds the bid price. This is essentially the difference in price between the highest price that a buyer is willing to pay for a security and the lowest price for which a seller is willing to sell it. You can control the spread to some degree by setting ETF orders at limit this means your trade is conducted at a price you nominate and that another trader is agreeable to your nominated price. Using ETFs in an Investment Portfolio. The ease, speed, flexibility, diversification and low costs of indexed ETFs make them an effective investment solution for you to: Construct an investment portfolio: with a combination of ETFs you can cover different asset sectors and markets and build a robust diversified investment portfolio at a low cost. Build the foundations of a portfolio: ETFs can be used to provide a core to your investment portfolio that allows you to then branch out into other asset classes and investment opportunities like direct shares or active managed funds to see higher returns. This is a core-satellite investment strategy. Rebalance a portfolio: overtime an investment portfolio can move away from the initial asset allocation you set with your Adviser. ETFs can be used to easily correct the imbalance by targeting the underweight assets and providing the counter weight. Trade in the market: An ETF investor can rapidly deploy cash into the market, trade as required at market prices and use the ETFs as collateral for margin lending. 4

5 ETF Myths and Misconceptions Myth 1: All ETFs are the same A single apple tree can produce difference shaped apples. All ETFs are different even if they invest in the same index. ETFs supposedly tracking the same market segment can deliver very different results with each ETF provider using their own construction methodology, their own target indexes and their day-to-day portfolio management. Myth 2: ETFs are illiquid There are two levels of liquidity to think about with ETFs. The first, is shown in the quotes in the market as the number of shares available for purchase or sale at a particular price during the trading day. This is no different to any other listed share. This liquidity is affected by the number of traders trading each ETF, the number of orders from other investors and the investment environment on that day. The second source of liquidity comes from an ETF s capability to issue or redeem units to meet excess demand or supply for purchases or sales above the liquidity shown in the market. This source of liquidity is defined by the composition of the ETF itself and the trading volume of the individual securities in the underlying fund. Myth 3: ETFs are complex They can be but like all things worth knowing, complexity can be fought with education and understanding. ETFs as a product class can range from simple to complex, the key is knowing and understanding before buying. Myth 4: ETFs are tax inefficient Most ETFs offer investors potential tax efficiencies due to their buy and hold approach and are potentially more taxefficient than traditional managed funds. As index portfolios, ETFs tend to realize fewer capital gains than actively managed funds. This is due to a low turnover in the underlying securities in the fund. Myth 5: ETFs are only for market-timers Some believe that ETFs are only appropriate for speculators, market-timers, or other investors with short time horizons. ETFs may benefit long-term investors even more so as the ETFs low expense ratios can more than offset commissions and spreads over time. Myth 6: ETFs are derivatives ETFs are not derivatives.* Like any managed fund, the value of an ETF depends on the net asset value of the fund underlying the ETF. ETFs are invested directly in the securities in the benchmark index. * Note: Synthetic ETFs may use derivatives in their investment strategy. 5

6 Advice to Make Smart Decisions Every Carnegie Financial Planning Client is taken through our Advice Process. It is designed to ensure that our Advice is authentic, oriented to achieving your life goals and is built on a foundation of mutual trust and respect. There are six stages in our Advice Process and it usually spread across at least two face to face meetings Our Advice Process Our Advice Process starts with a Discovery Meeting. Think of it like a first date. We gather information about your current financial situation, your life and wealth goals. We ask you five very important questions and we use a Financial Road Map which you can take home with you. When we meet we will ask you: What is most important to you in life? What goals do you have that need time, money and a plan to achieve? Where are you now? Where do you want to be? What s in your way or stopping you? After our Discovery Meeting we mutually agree to work together to achieve the goals you ve identified and address the issues crucial to your financial wellbeing. This agreement is documented in our Terms of Engagement which is a joint commitment to each other. We then begin the detailed process to prepare and present our Advice to you. Presenting our Advice and gaining your consent to Make it Happen commits you to our Strategies and Recommendations. We then implement our Recommendations and agree on an Ongoing Service Arrangement with You. You are the driver at the centre of Our Advice Process. Our role is get you to focus on Protecting, Building and Managing your Wealth now and with a clear direction and purpose for the future. For more information about Carnegie Financial Planning read our Financial Services Guide available on our website. For more Wealth Education visit Understanding ETFs

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