Is iShares MSCI Intl Multifactor ETF (INTF) a Strong ETF Right Now?

Asia's Tech News Daily

Designed to provide broad exposure to the Broad Developed World ETFs category of the market, the iShares MSCI Intl Multifactor ETF (INTF) is a smart beta exchange traded fund launched on 04/28/2015.

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What Are Smart Beta ETFs?

The ETF industry has traditionally been dominated by products based on market capitalization weighted indexes that are designed to represent the market or a particular segment of the market.

Because market cap weighted indexes provide a low-cost, convenient, and transparent way of replicating market returns, they work well for investors who believe in market efficiency.

However, some investors believe in the possibility of beating the market through exceptional stock selection, and choose a different type of fund that tracks non-cap weighted strategies: smart beta.

Non-cap weighted indexes try to choose stocks that have a better chance of risk-return performance, which is based on specific fundamental characteristics, or a mix of other such characteristics.

The smart beta space gives investors many different choices, from equal-weighting, one of the simplest strategies, to more complicated ones like fundamental and volatility/momentum based weighting. However, not all of these methodologies have been able to deliver remarkable returns.

Fund Sponsor & Index

INTF is managed by Blackrock, and this fund has amassed over $925.56 million, which makes it one of the larger ETFs in the Broad Developed World ETFs. This particular fund, before fees and expenses, seeks to match the performance of the MSCI World ex USA Diversified Multi-Factor Index.

The MSCI World ex USA Diversified Multiple-Factor Index is designed to select equity securities from MSCI World ex USA Index that have high exposure to four investment style factors: value, quality, momentum and low size, while maintaining a level of risk similar to that of the Parent Index.

Cost & Other Expenses

Investors should also pay attention to an ETF’s expense ratio. Lower cost products will produce better results than those with a higher cost, assuming all other metrics remain the same.

Annual operating expenses for this ETF are 0.30%, making it on par with most peer products in the space.

The fund has a 12-month trailing dividend yield of 5.29%.

Sector Exposure and Top Holdings

While ETFs offer diversified exposure, which minimizes single stock risk, a deep look into a fund’s holdings is a valuable exercise. And, most ETFs are very transparent products that disclose their holdings on a daily basis.

Looking at individual holdings, Hitachi Ltd accounts for about 2.74% of total assets, followed by Daimler Ag (DAI) and Investor Class B (INVE).

INTF’s top 10 holdings account for about 21.43% of its total assets under management.

Performance and Risk

The ETF has gained about 1.24% so far this year and was up about 10.58% in the last one year (as of 01/14/2022). In the past 52-week period, it has traded between $27.02 and $31.55.

The ETF has a beta of 0.88 and standard deviation of 20.73% for the trailing three-year period, making it a medium risk choice in the space. With about 205 holdings, it effectively diversifies company-specific risk.

Alternatives

IShares MSCI Intl Multifactor ETF is a reasonable option for investors seeking to outperform the Broad Developed World ETFs segment of the market. However, there are other ETFs in the space which investors could consider.

Vanguard Total International Stock ETF (VXUS) tracks FTSE Global All Cap ex US Index and the Vanguard FTSE Developed Markets ETF (VEA) tracks FTSE Developed All Cap ex US Index. Vanguard Total International Stock ETF has $51.76 billion in assets, Vanguard FTSE Developed Markets ETF has $107 billion. VXUS has an expense ratio of 0.08% and VEA charges 0.05%.

Investors looking for cheaper and lower-risk options should consider traditional market cap weighted ETFs that aim to match the returns of the Broad Developed World ETFs.

Bottom Line

To learn more about this product and other ETFs, screen for products that match your investment objectives and read articles on latest developments in the ETF investing universe, please visit Zacks ETF Center.


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iShares MSCI Intl Multifactor ETF (INTF): ETF Research Reports

 

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Vanguard FTSE Developed Markets ETF (VEA): ETF Research Reports

 

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