Designed to provide broad exposure to the Broad Developed World ETFs category of the market, the iShares MSCI Intl Multifactor ETF (
INTF Quick Quote INTF - Free Report) is a smart beta exchange traded fund launched on 04/28/2015. What Are Smart Beta ETFs?
The ETF industry has long been dominated by products based on market cap weighted indexes, a strategy created to reflect the market or a particular market segment.
Because market cap weighted indexes provide a low-cost, convenient, and transparent way of replicating market returns, they work well for investors who believe in market efficiency.
But, there are some investors who would rather invest in smart beta funds; these funds track non-cap weighted strategies, and are a strong option for those who prefer choosing great stocks in order to beat the market.
Non-cap weighted indexes try to choose stocks that have a better chance of risk-return performance, which is based on specific fundamental characteristics, or a mix of other such characteristics.
Even though this space provides many choices to investors--think one of the simplest methodologies like equal-weighting and more complicated ones like fundamental and volatility/momentum based weighting--not all have been able to deliver first-rate results.
Fund Sponsor & Index
The fund is managed by Blackrock. INTF has been able to amass assets over $963.49 million, making it one of the larger ETFs in the Broad Developed World ETFs. This particular fund seeks to match the performance of the MSCI World ex USA Diversified Multi-Factor Index before fees and expenses.
The MSCI World ex USA Diversified Multi-Factor Index is designed to select equity securities from MSCI World ex USA Index that have high exposure to four investment style factors: value, quality, momentum and low size, while maintaining a level of risk similar to that of the Parent Index.
Cost & Other Expenses
Investors should also pay attention to an ETF's expense ratio. Lower cost products will produce better results than those with a higher cost, assuming all other metrics remain the same.
Operating expenses on an annual basis are 0.30% for this ETF, which makes it on par with most peer products in the space.
The fund has a 12-month trailing dividend yield of 2%.
Sector Exposure and Top Holdings
Even though ETFs offer diversified exposure which minimizes single stock risk, it is still important to look into a fund's holdings before investing. Luckily, most ETFs are very transparent products that disclose their holdings on a daily basis.
When you look at individual holdings, Roche Holding Par Ag (
ROG Quick Quote ROG - Free Report) accounts for about 3% of the fund's total assets, followed by Rio Tinto Plc ( RIO Quick Quote RIO - Free Report) and Hitachi Ltd.
INTF's top 10 holdings account for about 21.99% of its total assets under management.
Performance and Risk
The ETF has gained about 2.52% and it's up approximately 5.14% so far this year and in the past one year (as of 01/15/2021), respectively. INTF has traded between $17.43 and $28.20 during this last 52-week period.
The ETF has a beta of 0.91 and standard deviation of 21.23% for the trailing three-year period, making it a medium risk choice in the space. With about 205 holdings, it effectively diversifies company-specific risk.
IShares MSCI Intl Multifactor ETF is a reasonable option for investors seeking to outperform the Broad Developed World ETFs segment of the market. However, there are other ETFs in the space which investors could consider.
Vanguard Total International Stock ETF (
VXUS Quick Quote VXUS - Free Report) tracks FTSE Global All Cap ex US Index and the Vanguard FTSE Developed Markets ETF ( VEA Quick Quote VEA - Free Report) tracks FTSE Developed All Cap ex US Index. Vanguard Total International Stock ETF has $37.75 billion in assets, Vanguard FTSE Developed Markets ETF has $90.33 billion. VXUS has an expense ratio of 0.08% and VEA charges 0.05%.
Investors looking for cheaper and lower-risk options should consider traditional market cap weighted ETFs that aim to match the returns of the Broad Developed World ETFs.
To learn more about this product and other ETFs, screen for products that match your investment objectives and read articles on latest developments in the ETF investing universe, please visit
Zacks ETF Center.