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Is iShares MSCI Emerging Markets Multifactor ETF (EMGF) a Strong ETF Right Now?

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A smart beta exchange traded fund, the iShares MSCI Emerging Markets Multifactor ETF (EMGF - Free Report) debuted on 12/08/2015, and offers broad exposure to the Broad Emerging Market 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.

Market cap weighted indexes work great for investors who believe in market efficiency. They provide a low-cost, convenient and transparent way of replicating market returns.

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

Because the fund has amassed over $745.20 million, this makes it one of the larger ETFs in the Broad Emerging Market ETFs. EMGF is managed by Blackrock. This particular fund seeks to match the performance of the MSCI Emerging Markets Diversified Multiple-Factor Index before fees and expenses.

The MSCI Emerging Markets Diversified Multiple Factor Index is composed of stocks of large and mid-capitalization companies in emerging markets that have favourable exposure to target style factors subject to constraints.

Cost & Other Expenses

Since cheaper funds tend to produce better results than more expensive funds, assuming all other factors remain equal, it is important for investors to pay attention to an ETF's expense ratio.

Annual operating expenses for EMGF are 0.45%, which makes it on par with most peer products in the space.

It has a 12-month trailing dividend yield of 1.77%.

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.

Looking at individual holdings, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing accounts for about 4.67% of total assets, followed by Tencent Holdings Ltd and Alibaba Group Holding Adr Represen (BABA - Free Report) .

EMGF's top 10 holdings account for about 29.25% of its total assets under management.

Performance and Risk

So far this year, EMGF has gained about 9.60%, and is up roughly 48.29% in the last one year (as of 04/28/2021). During this past 52-week period, the fund has traded between $36.15 and $54.48.

EMGF has a beta of 0.82 and standard deviation of 23.63% for the trailing three-year period. With about 271 holdings, it effectively diversifies company-specific risk.


IShares MSCI Emerging Markets Multifactor ETF is a reasonable option for investors seeking to outperform the Broad Emerging Market ETFs segment of the market. However, there are other ETFs in the space which investors could consider.

Vanguard FTSE Emerging Markets ETF (VWO - Free Report) tracks FTSE Emerging Markets All Cap China A Inclusion Index and the iShares Core MSCI Emerging Markets ETF (IEMG - Free Report) tracks MSCI Emerging Markets Investable Market Index. Vanguard FTSE Emerging Markets ETF has $80.96 billion in assets, iShares Core MSCI Emerging Markets ETF has $81.03 billion. VWO has an expense ratio of 0.10% and IEMG charges 0.11%.

Investors looking for cheaper and lower-risk options should consider traditional market cap weighted ETFs that aim to match the returns of the Broad Emerging Market 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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