Thursday, June 12, 2014

First Metro ETF

In the last post I wrote about exchange-traded funds.  This post will be about the first (and as far as I can tell, the only) ETF in the Philippines: First Metro Philippine Equity Exchange-Traded Fund (FMETF).

The Fund aims to  track the performance of the Philippine Stock Exchange Composite Index (PSEI).  This means, roughly, that it will invest in the stocks that comprise the PSEI, in the same weights.

A listing of the PSEI component securities can be found on the PSE website.

Due to its nature as an index fund, and according to the prospectus itself, the Fund is passively-managed. Theoretically, this should mean lower operating costs and thus higher returns for the investor. However, the expense ratio listed for the fund is =< 2%. 2% is pretty high for an index fund. In other countries annual fees for index funds are usually below 1%. In comparison, BPI's equity index funds charge 1.5%.

On the other hand, the 2% listed is a maximum. The actual amount may be lower. Unfortunately I couldn't find any information about the actual expense ratio. I will update this post when I do.

Another thing to look at when reviewing an index fund is the tracking error.  Tracking error is the difference between an index fund's performance and the index's own performance.  Tracking error should be as close to 0% as possible.  The currently listed tracking error for FMETF is 0.09% which is a lot better than the ~1% achieved by BPI's index funds.

FMETF is interesting if you want to track the PSEI and at the same time be able to trade fund shares like any other stock.  However, it would be a good idea to research the actual expense ratio (roughly equivalent to mutual fund/UITF annual fee) and broker's fees first.

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