Exchange-traded funds (ETFs) are no longer a one-size-fits-all investment vehicle. The first ETFs available in Australia were plain old index funds — tracking benchmarks like the S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO ) without too much fanfare.
But these days (much like the app store), if there's a trend, asset class or industry to track, chances are there's an ETF for that.
But with a plethora of choice out there, which ETFs should we choose for our portfolios? Well, if you're looking to add some international exposure to your portfolio, I've found 2 exotic ETFs I think merit consideration.
iShares MSCI EAFE ETF (ASX: IVE)
Don't let this acronym-replete name dissuade you. IVE tracks a basket of shares from Europe, Australia and the Far East (EAFE). Most of the international investing that Aussies tend to participate in revolves around the United States. While this is not necessarily a bad thing, I do think that America has its own set of unique challenges right now. Considering this, a bit of international diversification might not go astray in our portfolios.
IVE has its largest exposure (26% of the portfolio) to Japan with shares like Toyota. But the United Kingdom (at 14%), France (at 10.5%), Switzerland (10.2%) and Germany (9%) also feature heavily. Our own ASX shares make up around 6.4% of this ETF. Apart from Toyota, other companies that feature in IVE's top 10 list include Nestle, Roche, Novartis, SAP and LVMH.
IVE has a management fee of 0.31% per annum, which I think is reasonable considering the geographical diversification it brings to the table.
ETFS Morningstar Global Technology ETF (ASX: TECH)
This tech-focused ETF (hence the ticker symbol) is one of my favourite exotic ETFs on the ASX. It aims to track a basket of tech-related companies that are selected by the reputable Morningstar group. It's dominated by US companies (with 85.5% of the portfolio), but also features Japan, Germany and France in its exposures. TECH's holdings are made up of both large and small tech companies. Microsoft is in the top 10, as is Fortinet, Splunk, ServiceNow and Intel.
Morningstar regularly updates and rebalances this index. Thus, you can have reasonable confidence that any company that stumbles or goes off the rails will be replaced with another up-and-comer. If you feel your portfolio doesn't have sufficient exposure to the global technology sector, then TECH is a great way to easily remedy this situation. This ETF has a management fee of 0.45% per annum, which isn't on the cheap side. However, since TECH has returned an average of 25.15% per annum over the past 3 years, personally I would consider this fee 'worth it'.