ETFS Trade idea – The Aussie yield ETF that challenges active managers
ETFS S&P/ASX 300 High Yield Plus ETF (ZYAU)
In the wake of S&P Dow Jones Indices recently published SPIVA® report, this week we have taken a look at how our ETFs have fared against active managers over time.
This note highlights ZYAU, which has produced strong excess returns since inception and outperformed many well-known active managers.
Investors looking for cost-effective excess returns from domestic equities should consider evaluating ZYAU.
In this week’s ETFS Trade idea, we look at the results of the SPIVA® Australia Scorecard released by S&P Dow Jones Indices last month and compare the performance of ZYAU to a collection of well-known active funds focused on Australian equity-income.
SPVIA® Australia Scorecard 2017
S&P Dow Jones Indices have been publishing SPIVA® Scorecards for major markets since 2002 and have become leading contributors to the active versus passive debate worldwide. The SPIVA® Scorecards track the performance of active fund managers in each market against benchmark indices across a variety of categories and across multiple time horizons.
Looking specifically at Australian large-cap equity funds, as at the end of 2017 59% of funds underperformed the S&P/ASX 200 Index. Over 3, 5 and 15 year periods, respectively, 67%, 63% and 77% of funds underperformed the national benchmark. An equally-weighted portfolio of active funds would have underperformed the benchmark over 1, 3, 5, 10 and 15 years. Similarly, in the mid and small-cap categories, 74% and 75% of funds underperformed the S&P/ASX Mid-Small Index over 1 and 3 years.
How does ZYAU compare to active funds?
ZYAU sits in-between a traditional active fund and a purely passive index tracker in the area commonly termed ‘smart-beta’ or ‘enhanced-alpha’. Smart-beta funds passively track an index, but the index they track has features that differentiate it from a standard market capitalisation-weighted index and aim to outperform a standard index in much the same way that active funds do.
In the case of ZYAU, it tracks the S&P/ASX 300 Shareholder Yield Index, which aims to outperform the S&P/ASX 300 benchmark by selecting a sub-set of constituents based on ‘shareholder yield’ – a combined measure of dividend yield and buy-back yield.
Because ZYAU’s investment strategy is pre-defined it has several potential advantages over active funds:
its strategy is consistent, published and available for investors to evaluate and scrutinise
its holdings are published in the public domain on a daily basis
because it trades on exchange, investors can trade intra-day, unlike with many active funds
because the fund does not require a team of fund managers to continually evaluate its holdings, it can charge management fees more in-line with passive index trackers.
ZYAU’s stocks selections tend to be more “active” than many active funds, with its Active Share, or non-overlapping weight, versus the S&P/ASX 200 currently at 80.5%. This means that ZYAU can better compliment a core index holding in a portfolio.
Table 2, below, shows comparative performances and headline management fees of ZYAU against a collection of well-known active funds that focus on Australian equity and equity income.
Firstly, to note, ZYAU’s management fee compares favourably to the active funds, as would be expected. ZYAU charges a fee of 0.35% p.a., which is below all of the active funds profiled and significantly below the average active MER of 0.83% p.a.
Consistent Strong Performance
With regards to performance, since its inception in June 2015, ZYAU has generated 2.19% p.a. excess return over the S&P/ASX 200, which puts it ahead of 16 of the 17 active funds. Only Bennelong Australian Equities Fund has outperformed, due to a very strong start to 2018.
In the calendar year 2017, ZYAU outperformed the S&P/ASX 200 by 0.63% and beat 14 of its 17 active peers. In 2016, ZYAU outperformed 16 of the 17 active funds profiled and produced 5.42% of excess return over the benchmark index.
Since inception, ZYAU has delivered strong performance at a fraction of the cost of many of its active peers and should be, therefore, considered by investors looking for cost-effective excess returns.