Looking to invest globally and not sure which ETFs to pick from?
Fret not, we’ve shortlisted 6 of the most popular global ETFs and compared them for you.
In this post, you’ll find a detailed comparison between VT, IWDA, SWRD, VWRA, V3AA, and ISAC.
Keep reading to find the global ETFs best for you.
Differences between VT, IWDA, SWRD, VWRA, V3AA, and ISAC
|Issuer||Vanguard||iShares III plc.||SSGA SPDR ETFs Europe I plc||Vanguard Funds plc||Vanguard||iShares III plc.|
|Number of holdings||9,000||7,366||1,516||3,793||5,904||1,613|
|Assets Under Management (AUM)||$25.50B||$46.66B||$1.4B||$5.02B||$0.243B||$5.32B|
|Underlying Index||FTSE Global All Cap Index||MSCI World Index||MSCI World Index||FTSE All-World Index||FTSE All-World Index||MSCI All Country World Index|
|MSCI Rating||AA||AA||Not available||Not available||Not available||AA|
Highlights as of 16th April 2022
About VT (Vanguard Total World Stock Index Fund ETF)
VT is also known as the Vanguard Total World Stock Index Fund ETF and has been around since 2008. It invests primarily in US-based stocks and foreign ones.
Listed on the NYSE, the fund seeks to track the performance of the FTSE Global All Cap Index. Notably, the base index covers fully-developed and still-growing markets, therefore it’s broad and diversified.
Unlike most funds in the list, the VT does not focus on frontier markets. It uses the sampling strategy to track the index, which means the securities represent as closely as possible the base Index.
The fund is recommended for investors seeking long-term investment objectives.
The index comprises up to 9,000 stocks of various companies around the world. Because of the diversity, the fund is a great choice since it helps mitigate the risks posed by the poor performance of certain stocks/sectors/regions.
The fund weighs the stocks by the market capitalisation and captures the overall opinion of their respective value and ensures the turnover remains low.
Even though market cap weighting can be tricky due to exposure to more pricey stocks, this doesn’t in any way undermine the effectiveness of the fund in the long term.
VT fund is a distributing ETF and pays dividends on a quarterly basis. The current dividend yield over a 12-month trailing period is 1.99%. It’s a good way to earn passive income every year. However, taxes such as withholding taxes may apply.
VT offers an exceptionally low expense ratio of 0.07% which translates to great performance. The advantage of rock bottom charges gives the ETF an edge against other funds.
The VT fund has an MSCI ESG Fund Rating of AA, which is based on a score of 7.60/10. In addition, the fund ranks in the 32% within the Equity-Global peer group and in the 63% within the global universe of about 34,000 funds in coverage.
The MSCI ESG Fund Rating gauges how portfolios are performing against risks, opportunities, social, economic, political, and governance factors.
The best rating is AAA, whereas the worst is CCC.
Since its inception, VT has performed at par against the benchmark index as shown in the table below.
|Period||1 Year||3 Year||5 Year||10 Year||Since inception|
|Spliced Total World Stock Index (Benchmark)||18.40%||20.56%||14.46%||12.20%||8.22%|
As well, there had been a steep rise in the price in 2021 since the global economy started opening up after the devastating impact caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
About IWDA (iShares Core MSCI World UCITS ETF USD (Acc))
The IWDA is an Ireland-based ETF whose main objective is to offer investors investment results that replicate the performance of the MSCI World Index.
Listed on the LSE, the Benchmark comprises up to 1,500 stocks from over 20 countries spread across the globe. It’s a great choice because it allows you to invest in a broad sector of the world economy.
It passively tracks the stocks and is offered by iShares, a BlackRock brand. Worth noting, BlackRock is a top fund provider with more than $2 trillion in investment. Because of the large size, it can easily achieve economies of scale thereby guaranteeing lower fees.
One big plus of investing in this ETF is that it is domiciled in Ireland which offers special tax treaties between the US and Ireland.
In 2021, the worldwide ETF market registered record-breaking growth, and this trend is expected to continue into 2022. As you can see from the chart below, there was a slight climb from 2021 before a minor dip in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The fund has maintained a low expense ratio of 0.2%. Additionally, the NAV is currently $82.80 to deliver a market capitalisation of $46,665.043 million.
However, unlike VT which invests the funds in developed and emerging markets, IWDA invests in developed markets since it replicates the MSCI World Index that comprises large and mid-cap countries in developed markets.
The fund has not paid any dividends because it’s an accumulating ETF. What this means is that the fund manager reinvests the dividends into the ETF.
If you have a long-term investment horizon, IWDA will be a good choice as you can accumulate wealth over a long period.
The IWDA fund has an MSCI ESG Fund Rating of AA, which has a score of 80.6 out of 10.
In addition, the fund ranks in the 62% within the Equity-Global peer group and in the 77% within the global universe of about 34,000 funds in coverage.
The fund has witnessed an upward growth over the years except in 2020 when there was a slight dip due to the effects of COVID-19.
In addition, the fund has outperformed the benchmark in the past 10 years.
|IWDA||1 Year||3 years||5 years||10 years|
About SWRD (SPDR Bloomberg SASB US Corporate ESG UCITS ETF Acc)
SPDR is an open-ended ETF, domiciled in Ireland. It seeks to track the investment results of large and mid-sized capped equities in developed markets around the world.
The ETF invests in physical securities in the index and uses the sampling strategy to buy the most relevant stocks.
Like the IWDA, SWRD has an accumulating dividends policy meaning that they don’t pay dividends but reinvest in the fund.
The ETF allows investors to invest in up to 1,540 stocks at a lower expense ratio of 0.12%. It’s only three years old and therefore the returns don’t extend beyond this timeline.
The fund’s MSCI ratings are not available.
The returns are only available for three years because the ETF has been around since 2019. Despite this, the NAV has shown some remarkable performance from 2019 going to 2020. In addition, it has outperformed the base index since its inception.
|SWRD||1 Year||3 years||Since inception|
There was a slight dip in 2020 occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic, However, it has been on an upward climb and the future looks optimistic.
About VWRA (FTSE All-World UCITS ETF (USD) Accumulating)
VWRA fund seeks to track the investment results of the FTSE All-World Index comprising large and medium-cap companies stocks in developed and emerging markets.
The fund adopts a passive management strategy and provides exposure to allow you to earn the returns of securities in the base index. The dividend policy is capitalisation whereby they are reinvested.
The benchmark has up to 3,900 holdings in approximately 50 countries. In addition, the fund trades at the LSE under the ticker VWRA. Currently, it has maintained an expense ratio of 0.22% per annum.
Because it’s a globally diversified fund, it mainly invests in top companies in the world. By owning a single fund, you get exposure to globally diversified securities without being region, industry, or country-specific.
Therefore, you can achieve optimal diversification with less effort and own a large percentage of the market. The risk of underperforming is thereby kept low.
Another advantage of investing in this fund is that since it is domiciled in Ireland, you can enjoy a lower dividend withholding tax.
Further, because the dividends are reinvested, you can buy extra units of the ETF thereby increasing your investments. You also save on transaction costs that you would incur when withdrawing your dividends.
The fund’s MSCI ratings are not available.
The ETF has been around for a short time, thus there’s not much historical data to study the performance. Nonetheless, it tracks a reputable benchmark and therefore we can assume that it will replicate the performance going into the future.
|Period||1 Year||3 Years||5 years||10 Years||Since Inception|
The 1-year and since inception performance is exemplary for manageable volatility.
From the chart, the fund has been on an upward growth since 2020 after the COVID-19 restrictions were eased and the economy started picking up. Indeed, it registered an all-time high of $118.60 on 5th Nov 2021. We expect this performance to pick up in the years to come.
Overall, VWRA is a great choice if you want a long-term investment without having to worry about the costs eating into your investments.
ABOUT V3AA (Vanguard ESG Global All Cap UCITS ETF (USD) Acc)
V3AA is a relatively new ETF having been founded on 23/3/2021. Despite this, it’s picking up pretty well and there’s a positive future outlook.
The fund trades in the LSE under the ticker V3AA and is domiciled in Ireland. As you already know, there are multiple advantages of funds domiciled in Ireland, more so due to tax advantages.
The fund adopts an indexing or passive management approach that seeks to track the performance of the FTSE Global All Cap Choice Index which comprises large, mid, and small-cap stocks of globally-located industries.
The fund’s NAV is currently at $5.08 to deliver a market capitalisation of $243.020 million.
Even though it’s a new fund, it has maintained a lower expense ratio of 0.24%. In addition, this fund has an accumulating dividend policy.
The fund’s MSCI ratings are not available.
Since V3AA was launched in March 2021, performance data is only available for 1 year or 12 months.
The NAV has grown by 4.65% for the past one year against the 4.83 registered by the benchmark.
About ISAC (iShares MSCI ACWI UCITS ETF)
ISAC ETF is domiciled in Ireland and seeks to track the investment results of the MSCI All Country World Index.
The Fund uses the optimisation strategy to achieve similar performance to the base Index. Therefore, it may not hold all the securities of the underlying index in the same weighting.
The fund invests in securities with a global focus and therefore allows investments at lower fees. The current expense ratio is 0.20% p.a.
It was launched on 21st October 2011 and currently has net assets under management of $5,324,802,623.
One of the key benefits of this fund is offering investors with broadly-diversified companies stocks from emerging and developed countries. Thus, you’ll have a direct stake in a broad range of global companies.
The ETF has no dividend distribution data because it adopts the accumulating policy of reinvesting dividends.
The fund has an MSCI ESG Fund Rating (AAA-CCC) of AA with an average score of 7.84 out of 10.
In addition, the fund ranks at 44% within the Equity-Global peer group and 71% within the global universe of about 34,000 funds in coverage.
From the chart below, the fund has performed at par with the benchmark and the trend is expected to continue into the future.
|Period||1 Year||3 Year||5 Years||10 Year||Inception|
VT vs IWDA vs SWRD vs VWRA vs V3AA vs ISAC: Geographical Spread, Top Holdings, and Sector Analysis
In general, geographic spread usually reflects where a company conducts a large amount of business. However, this is subject to change.
Here is a summary of the geographical spread of the funds and their respective weights.
The US takes a lion’s share of the geographical spread followed by Japan, the UK, and Canada.
In addition, other countries in developed markets of Asia and Europe are in the league where the funds are popular.
Here is a summary of the top holdings of the funds and the respective weights.
|Alphabet Inc Class A||1.09%||1.44%||1.35%||1.23%||1.43%||1.16%|
|Alphabet Inc.Class C||1.03%||1.37%||1.32%||1.15%||1.21%||1.15%|
|Meta Platforms Inc.||0.68%||0.89%||0.90%||0.76%||0.8%||0.79%|
|UnitedHealth Group Inc||–||0.82%||0.89%||0.7%||0.78%||0.76%|
|Johnson & Johnson||–||–||083%||0.69%||–||–|
|JP Morgan Chase & Co.||–||–||–||0.59%||–||–|
|Visa Inc. Class A||–||–||–||0.55%||–||–|
|Procter & Gamble Co||–||–||–||0.54%||–||–|
|iShares MSCI India UCITS Etf||–||–||–||–||–||1.51%|
As you can see, the funds have invested heavily in technology sectors with top digital companies taking the biggest share. Some of these companies include Apple Inc., Microsoft Corporation, Amazon, and Tesla Inc.
However, there’s an exception for VT which has invested 0.99% in US Dollar, and ISAC with 1.51% in iShares MSCI India UCITS ETF.
Here is the breakdown of the sectors.
|Vehicles & parts||4.5%||–||–||–||–||–|
Except for VT and ISAC, all other funds have invested in REITs. It’s worth noting that investments in REITs are generally considered stable because the real estate market is not as prone to crashes and property prices have always been on an upward trend.
With high inflation, the financial services experience high revenues and therefore the ETFs have made a great choice to invest in those.
All ETFs have had a remarkable performance in 2021 and have shrugged off the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The main difference among the ETFs is the benchmark indices that the ETFs try to replicate. VT, VWRA, and V3AA track the FTSE All-World Index; whereas IWDA and SWRD track the MSCI World Index.
However, the base indexes may have different methodologies. Whereas MSCI World Index comprises large and mid-cap countries in developed markets, the FTSE is a market-capitalisation Index that captures the performance of large and mid-cap securities from the FTSE Global Equity Index series.
It covers mostly developed and emerging markets. Therefore when choosing any of the ETFs, you can consider the segment of the market it’s likely to cover.
Typically, an index that covers developed and emerging markets will give you more exposure. In this case, VT, VWRA, and V3AA would be a great choice.
If you are looking for an ETF that has been around for an extended period, you can consider VT and VWDA.
Despite the impressive performance over the years, they also have a high number of holdings as compared to SWRD, VWRA, V3AA, and ISAC. Additionally, they are more stable and have a higher asset base.
For the most sector diversity, the VT is the best as they’re invested in more sectors across developed and developing markets.
Ultimately, the choice of the ETF you want to invest in depends on what you already have in your portfolio, your risk appetite, and what you believe to grow most in the many years to come.
Once you’ve made your decision, sign up for an online investment account and get investing!
Our preferred broker is moomoo as it charges the lowest fees in the market.
If picking ETFs is too complicated for you, it’s best to engage a MAS-licensed financial advisor to help you with investing.