Why the Vanguard US Total Market Shares Index ETF (VTS) is a top long-term buy

I view the VTS ETF as one of the leading funds Aussies can buy.

| More on:
Businessman using a digital tablet with a graphical chart, symbolising the stock market.

Image source: Getty Images

You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More

Few funds can compete with Vanguard US Total Market Shares Index ETF (ASX: VTS) for the title of best ASX exchange-traded fund (ETF), in my opinion.

When choosing an ETF to invest in, I'm looking for low fees, diversification and good returns. This fund, which provides exposure to a large array of US shares, looks very appealing to me.

There are several diversified ETFs that I'd be extremely happy to own including VanEck Morningstar Wide Moat ETF (ASX: MOAT), Betashares Global Quality Leaders ETF (ASX: QLTY), VanEck MSCI International Quality ETF (ASX: QUAL) and BetaShares Global Sustainability Leaders ETF (ASX: ETHI). But the VTS ETF arguably ticks the most boxes.

Let's examine how Vanguard US Total Market Shares Index ETF rates on each of the factors I'm looking for.

Low fees

In terms of annual costs, this is the cheapest shares ETF that Aussies can buy on the ASX.

According to Vanguard, the yearly fee is a very minimal 0.03%.

In contrast, an active fund manager typically charges an annual fee of, say, 1% and then performance fees if they outperform their benchmark. The VTS ETF fund does not charge performance fees — it simply tracks the return of the US share market.  

Diversification

The Vanguard US Total Market Shares Index ETF has a total of more than 3,700 holdings. There are few ASX ETFs that provide as much exposure to that many businesses in a single fund.

Having this many holdings reduces the risk of being invested too much in one particular business.

I also like the level of sector allocation diversification. The technology sector has typically been the best-performing industry over the past decade because of its high margins and fast revenue growth.

Around a third of the VTS ETF is invested in technology shares, with consumer discretionary (14%), industrials (13.1%), healthcare (11.8%) and financials (10.9%) being the other sectors with a weighting of over 10%.

Good returns

While past performance is not a guarantee of future performance, the VTS ETF has done very well thanks to its biggest holdings driving the US share market higher.

I'm talking about some of the largest stocks in the world: Microsoft, Apple, Nvidia, Alphabet, Amazon.com, Meta Platforms and Berkshire Hathaway. These are high-quality businesses with extremely powerful market positions and the ability to re-invest for a high return within the business. This quality helps the VTS ETF deliver returns for investors.

In the 10 years to 31 May 2024, the Vanguard US Total Market Shares Index ETF has delivered an average annual return of 15.9%.

I can't predict its level of return over the next 10 years, but its heavy weighting to strong technology stocks makes me believe the VTS ETF can continue outperforming the S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO) over the long term.

Suzanne Frey, an executive at Alphabet, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. John Mackey, former CEO of Whole Foods Market, an Amazon subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. Randi Zuckerberg, a former director of market development and spokeswoman for Facebook and sister to Meta Platforms CEO Mark Zuckerberg, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Motley Fool contributor Tristan Harrison has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. has positions in and has recommended Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, Berkshire Hathaway, Meta Platforms, Microsoft, and Nvidia. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. has recommended the following options: long January 2026 $395 calls on Microsoft and short January 2026 $405 calls on Microsoft. The Motley Fool Australia has recommended Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, Berkshire Hathaway, Meta Platforms, Microsoft, Nvidia, and VanEck Morningstar Wide Moat ETF. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

More on ETFs

A piggy bank on the cloud in the blue sky symbolising a record high share price.
Record Highs

Here's why the Vanguard Australian Shares Index ETF (VAS) just hit an all-time ASX high

If you own this ETF, you've had a great day.

Read more »

ETF on different coloured wooden blocks.
ETFs

Top 10 most traded ASX ETFs in June

The most traded ASX ETF was the ever-popular Vanguard Australian Shares Index ETF.

Read more »

Australian dollar notes in businessman pocket suit, symbolising ex dividend day.
ETFs

Own the Vanguard Australian Shares Index ETF (VAS)? Here's how much you'll get paid today

Today's VAS paycheque might disappoint some investors.

Read more »

Cubes placed on a Notebook with the letters "ETF" which stands for "Exchange traded funds".
ETFs

Why I'd still call the FANG+ ETF a buy

The US tech giants have been great performers.

Read more »

The letters ETF with a man pointing at it.
ETFs

Buy and hold these ASX ETFs until 2030

Looking for long term options? Check out these picks.

Read more »

Contented looking man leans back in his chair at his desk and smiles.
ETFs

Should Aussies choose Vanguard Australian Shares Index ETF (VAS) or a term deposit for passive income?

Both investment options come with positives and negatives.

Read more »

Hand holding Australian dollar (AUD) bills, symbolising ex dividend day. Passive income.
ETFs

Where to invest $5,000 into ASX ETFs in July

Could these funds be a good place to invest your money?

Read more »

A woman sits at her desk thinking. She is surrounded by projections of world maps on various screens with data appearing below them.
ETFs

These top ASX global shares ETFs delivered stunning returns of 50% to 70% last year

We reveal the 6 best-performing ASX ETFs providing Aussie investors with international market exposure.

Read more »