Launched on 08/27/2007, the First Trust STOXX European Select Dividend ETF (
FDD Quick Quote FDD - Free Report) is a smart beta exchange traded fund offering broad exposure to the European Equity ETFs category of the market. What Are Smart Beta ETFs?
Products that are based on market cap weighted indexes, which are strategies designed to reflect a specific market segment or the market as a whole, have traditionally dominated the ETF industry.
Investors who believe in market efficiency should consider market cap indexes, as they replicate market returns in a low-cost, convenient, and transparent way.
On the other hand, some investors who believe that it is possible to beat the market by superior stock selection opt to invest in another class of funds that track non-cap weighted strategies--popularly known as smart beta.
This kind of index follows this same mindset, as it attempts to pick stocks that have better chances of risk-return performance; non-cap weighted strategies base selection on certain fundamental characteristics, or a mix of such characteristics.
While this space offers a number of choices to investors, including simplest equal-weighting, fundamental weighting and volatility/momentum based weighting methodologies, not all these strategies have been able to deliver superior results.
Fund Sponsor & Index
The fund is managed by First Trust Advisors. FDD has been able to amass assets over $223.58 million, making it one of the average sized ETFs in the European Equity ETFs. This particular fund seeks to match the performance of the STOXX Europe Select Dividend 30 Index before fees and expenses.
The STOXX Europe Select Dividend 30 Index consists of 30 high dividend-yielding securities selected from the STOXX Europe 600 Index.
Cost & Other Expenses
Expense ratios are an important factor in the return of an ETF and in the long-term, cheaper funds can significantly outperform their more expensive cousins, other things remaining the same.
Operating expenses on an annual basis are 0.58% for FDD, making it on par with most peer products in the space.
It's 12-month trailing dividend yield comes in at 3.94%.
Sector Exposure and Top Holdings
Most ETFs are very transparent products, and disclose their holdings on a daily basis. ETFs also offer diversified exposure, which minimizes single stock risk, though it's still important for investors to research a fund's holdings.
Taking into account individual holdings, Legal & General Group Plc (LGEN.LN) accounts for about 6.40% of the fund's total assets, followed by Standard Life Aberdeen Plc (SLA.LN) and Royal Dutch Shell Plc (class B) (RDSB.LN).
Its top 10 holdings account for approximately 46.39% of FDD's total assets under management.
Performance and Risk
Year-to-date, the First Trust STOXX European Select Dividend ETF has added roughly 0.58% so far, and is down about -3.06% over the last 12 months (as of 01/29/2021). FDD has traded between $8.41 and $14.36 in this past 52-week period.
The fund has a beta of 1 and standard deviation of 25.52% for the trailing three-year period, which makes FDD a medium risk choice in this particular space. With about 31 holdings, it has more concentrated exposure than peers.
First Trust STOXX European Select Dividend ETF is not a suitable option for investors seeking to outperform the European Equity ETFs segment of the market. Instead, there are other ETFs in the space which investors should consider.
IShares MSCI Eurozone ETF (
EZU Quick Quote EZU - Free Report) tracks MSCI EMU Index and the Vanguard FTSE Europe ETF ( VGK Quick Quote VGK - Free Report) tracks FTSE Developed Europe All Cap Index. IShares MSCI Eurozone ETF has $4.94 billion in assets, Vanguard FTSE Europe ETF has $14.47 billion. EZU has an expense ratio of 0.49% and VGK charges 0.08%.
Investors looking for cheaper and lower-risk options should consider traditional market cap weighted ETFs that aim to match the returns of the European Equity 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.