ETF monthly wrap-up
Christine St Anne  |  30/10/2012Text size  Decrease  Increase  |  

Christine St Anne: In this month's exchange traded fund or ETF wrap up. I'm joined by Alex Prineas, who talks to us about how the products have performed and the new product from UBS.

Alex welcome.

Alex Prineas: Thanks, Christine.

St Anne: Alex, so, what were the best performing ETFs in the month of September?

Prineas: The best performing ETFs were mostly commodity related. So, we saw an announcement of policy from the US Federal Reserve. It's been dubbed QE-Infinity. It's basically a commitment to continue the policy of quantitative easing indefinitely.

So, that has all sorts of repercussions some of which have do with possibly debasing the US dollar and so precious metal ETFs were popular in September. So, we saw things like ETFS Physical Silver was up more than 12 per cent and we also saw strong runs from the ETFS Physical Platinum and BetaShares gold bullion.

There were also some industrial and energy products that also did well. So, ETFS Natural Gas and ETFS Industrial Commodities ETF were both up more than 10 per cent each. The only non-commodity related ETF that performed strongly although it was in the top 10 over the month was iShares MSCI Hong Kong product, but we know that the Hong Kong dollar is pegged to the US dollar. So, when you get an announcement quantitative easing, you can't say a liquidity injection into Hong Kong, so that may have been related.

St Anne: The not so good performers?

Prineas: Well, funnily enough, the worst performing ETFs were also commodity related products and I think that highlights in the short run, the commodity complex doesn't necessarily move in unison, but the worst performing products were more agricultural or oil related. So, we saw ETFS Agriculture and BetaShares Crude Oil both down around 5 per cent. Oil prices were limited during the month by an oil production pledge from Saudi Arabia and then it wasn't surprising to see some weakness in agricultural commodity prices. They had a very strong run in the previous few months on the back of the U.S. drought.

I guess commodity prices can be volatile and they can also be un-correlated to other asset classes they can be affected by things like crop yields, the weather, political decisions. So we often see commodity related ETFs at the top or bottom of performance tables in the short run and this month they dominated both the top and the bottom of the tables.

St Anne: Alex, UBS has recently launched a new ETF product. Can you give us an insight into this product and how it differs from the existing ETFs out there in the market?

Prineas: Yeah, the UBS product is an interesting one and it's based on buy ratings from UBS's fundamental equity research team. They have some quality filters overlaid, so you end up with a 40 stock portfolio. But ultimately I guess you could say it is a rules based ETF, but those rules are based on an underlying group of equity investors looking for attractive stocks.

So, UBS can't market it as an active ETF, because the regulation in Australia doesn't allow that. But essentially it is an ETF with an active stock selection component to it or a listed fund, I guess you could call it. The pricing also suggests that that's where it's pitched with a fee of 0.7 per cent. Looks quite expensive if you compare it to passive or index based ETFs. But if you compare it to an actively managed fund, say your average Australian shares, unit trust or super fund, the pricing looks more competitive. So, UBS's product is an interesting development. It's an example of the lines being blurred between ETFs and actively managed unit trusts or funds.

St Anne: Alex, thanks so much for your insights today.

Prineas: Thanks Christine.

Video Archive...

to Morningstar Premium Membership

Key investor risks
21/10/2014  Voted among the 50 most influential people in finance today, author and former banker Satyajit
Finding value in small companies
14/10/2014  A portfolio of "terrific value" can still be achieved despite the stretched valuations in the smaller end of the Australian equities market.
Choosing quality businesses
07/10/2014  Credit investors adopt a different approach to equity investors when assessing a quality business, according to PIMCO's Tracy Chin.
Don't panic about PIMCO
30/09/2014  Morningstar's Tim Murphy talks about the recent portfolio manager changes at the global bond manager and why investors should not panic.
Medibank IPO Preview
25/09/2014  Morningstar's Peter Warnes and David Ellis preview the upcoming initial public offering of health insurance giant Medibank Private.
A better deal for investors
24/09/2014  Morningstar’s Anthony Serhan outlines what the government’s Financial System Inquiry will mean for investors.
Europe growth: Gone for good?
18/09/2014  Facing entrenched structural issues, the eurozone’s days of robust growth are likely over, but there are some reasons for hope, says Morningstar's Bob Johnson.
Morningstar Individual Investor Conference
09/09/2014  Whether you are building your savings or transitioning to retirement Morningstar will help you secure long-term returns. This conference is not to be missed. Register now.
Will the ECB cuts boost growth in Europe?
09/09/2014  The European Central Bank (ECB) has taken measures to ward off deflation and boost growth in the eurozone. Will these interest rate cuts be effective?
Building a moat in foreign exchange
03/09/2014  OzForex’s low-cost, online business model could prove to be a meaningful market disruptor, and the shares look like a bargain today.
1 stock that's close to perfection
29/08/2014  Morningstar head of equities research Peter Warnes discusses results from the likes of Ramsay Health Care and Woolworths as the curtains close over the fiscal 2014 earnings season.
Why moats matter
26/08/2014  Morningstar Australasia's co-chief executive Heather Brilliant talks about finding great companies in a new book she co-authored titled Why Moats Matter.
BHP, Wesfarmers and investor returns
22/08/2014  Morningstar's Peter Warnes takes a look at the latest results from BHP Billiton, QBE Insurance, as well as a "shareholder's dream," Wesfarmers.
CBA stands out, Telstra gives back cash
15/08/2014  Morningstar's Peter Warnes takes a look at the latest earnings results from the likes of Commonwealth Bank, CSL, Telstra and ANZ, and gives investors an idea of what to expect from these companies going forward.
2 energy stocks with strong returns
08/08/2014  These two Australian energy companies should see strong returns over the next decade.
This wide-moat stock has been a star performer
05/08/2014  With its record of high profitability and very strong shareholder returns, this banking firm stands out.
How diversified is your portfolio?
31/07/2014  Morningstar’s Tim Murphy talks about an effective investment tool that helps investors achieve a diversified portfolio.
Seeking small-cap opportunities
30/07/2014  Morningstar's Tom Whitelaw shares some insights gained from recent talks with small-cap fund managers and provides some tips for those looking to increase their exposure to the smaller end of the market.
Key insights into quality stock-pickers
31/07/2014  Morningstar’s Julian Robertson talks about recent research into Australian large-cap managers and how some quality managers are approaching the market.
7 reasons why SMSFs outperform
22/07/2014  The key advantages to running a self-managed superannuation funds have also translated into strong performance.