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Is First Trust Dow Jones Global Select Dividend ETF (FGD) a Strong ETF Right Now?

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The First Trust Dow Jones Global Select Dividend ETF (FGD - Free Report) made its debut on 11/21/2007, and is a smart beta exchange traded fund that provides broad exposure to the Broad Developed World 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.

However, some investors believe in the possibility of beating the market through exceptional stock selection, and choose a different type of fund that tracks non-cap weighted strategies: smart beta.

By attempting to pick stocks that have a better chance of risk-return performance, non-cap weighted indexes are based on certain fundamental characteristics, or a combination of such.

The smart beta space gives investors many different choices, from equal-weighting, one of the simplest strategies, to more complicated ones like fundamental and volatility/momentum based weighting. However, not all of these methodologies have been able to deliver remarkable returns.

Fund Sponsor & Index

FGD is managed by First Trust Advisors, and this fund has amassed over $444.89 million, which makes it one of the average sized ETFs in the Broad Developed World ETFs. Before fees and expenses, FGD seeks to match the performance of the Dow Jones Global Select Dividend Index.

This Index is an indicated annual dividend yield weighted index of 100 stocks selected from the developed-market portion of the Dow Jones World 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 0.59% for FGD, making it one of the more expensive products in the space.

FGD's 12-month trailing dividend yield is 5.34%.

Sector Exposure and Top Holdings

ETFs offer diversified exposure and thus minimize single stock risk, but it is still important to delve into a fund's holdings before investing. Most ETFs are very transparent products and many disclose their holdings on a daily basis.

When you look at individual holdings, Bankia, S.a. (BKIA.SM) accounts for about 3.01% of the fund's total assets, followed by Invesco Ltd. (IVZ - Free Report) and Drax Group Plc (DRX.LN).

FGD's top 10 holdings account for about 17.5% of its total assets under management.

Performance and Risk

Year-to-date, the First Trust Dow Jones Global Select Dividend ETF has gained about 15.88% so far, and was up about 80.67% over the last 12 months (as of 03/19/2021). FGD has traded between $13.90 and $25.46 in this past 52-week period.

The ETF has a beta of 1.06 and standard deviation of 24.99% for the trailing three-year period, making it a low risk choice in the space. With about 93 holdings, it effectively diversifies company-specific risk.

Alternatives

First Trust Dow Jones Global Select Dividend 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.

IShares MSCI ACWI ETF (ACWI - Free Report) tracks MSCI All Country World Index and the Vanguard Total World Stock ETF (VT - Free Report) tracks FTSE Global All Cap Index. IShares MSCI ACWI ETF has $15.33 billion in assets, Vanguard Total World Stock ETF has $18.37 billion. ACWI has an expense ratio of 0.32% and VT 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 Broad Developed World ETFs.

Bottom Line

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.


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