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Is First Trust SMID Cap Rising Dividend Achievers ETF (SDVY) a Strong ETF Right Now?

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Making its debut on 11/01/2017, smart beta exchange traded fund First Trust SMID Cap Rising Dividend Achievers ETF (SDVY - Free Report) provides investors broad exposure to the Style Box - Mid Cap Value category of the market.

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.

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.

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.

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

Managed by First Trust Advisors, SDVY has amassed assets over $202.02 million, making it one of the average sized ETFs in the Style Box - Mid Cap Value. Before fees and expenses, this particular fund seeks to match the performance of the NASDAQ US Small Mid Cap Rising Dividend Achievers Index.

The NASDAQ US Small Mid Cap Rising Dividend Achievers Index is composed of the securities of 100 small and mid-cap companies with a history of raising their dividends and exhibit the characteristics to continue to do so in the future.

Cost & Other Expenses

Cost is an important factor in selecting the right ETF, and cheaper funds can significantly outperform their more expensive cousins if all other fundamentals are the same.

Annual operating expenses for this ETF are 0.60%, making it one of the most expensive products in the space.

It has a 12-month trailing dividend yield of 1.17%.

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.

SDVY's heaviest allocation is in the Financials sector, which is about 31% of the portfolio. Its Industrials and Consumer Discretionary round out the top three.

Taking into account individual holdings, Dick's Sporting Goods, Inc. (DKS - Free Report) accounts for about 1.48% of the fund's total assets, followed by Jefferies Financial Group Inc. (JEF - Free Report) and Tetra Tech, Inc. (TTEK - Free Report) .

SDVY's top 10 holdings account for about 11.82% of its total assets under management.

Performance and Risk

Year-to-date, the First Trust SMID Cap Rising Dividend Achievers ETF return is roughly 22.43% so far, and is up about 60.16% over the last 12 months (as of 09/30/2021). SDVY has traded between $18.28 and $30.39 in this past 52-week period.

SDVY has a beta of 1.27 and standard deviation of 31.87% for the trailing three-year period. With about 101 holdings, it effectively diversifies company-specific risk.


First Trust SMID Cap Rising Dividend Achievers ETF is an excellent option for investors seeking to outperform the Style Box - Mid Cap Value segment of the market. There are other ETFs in the space which investors could consider as well.

IShares Russell MidCap Value ETF (IWS - Free Report) tracks Russell MidCap Value Index and the Vanguard MidCap Value ETF (VOE - Free Report) tracks CRSP U.S. Mid Cap Value Index. IShares Russell MidCap Value ETF has $14.12 billion in assets, Vanguard MidCap Value ETF has $14.60 billion. IWS has an expense ratio of 0.23% and VOE charges 0.07%.

Investors looking for cheaper and lower-risk options should consider traditional market cap weighted ETFs that aim to match the returns of the Style Box - Mid Cap Value.

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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