Making its debut on 04/28/2015, smart beta exchange traded fund iShares MSCI Intl Multifactor ETF (
INTF Quick Quote INTF - Free Report) provides investors broad exposure to the Broad Developed World ETFs category of the market. What Are Smart Beta ETFs?
Market cap weighted indexes were created to reflect the market, or a specific segment of the market, and the ETF industry has traditionally been dominated by products based on this strategy.
Market cap weighted indexes offer a low-cost, convenient, and transparent way of replicating market returns, and are a good option for investors who believe in market efficiency.
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.
Methodologies like equal-weighting, one of the simplest options out there, fundamental weighting, and volatility/momentum based weighting are all choices offered to investors in this space, but not all of them can deliver superior returns.
Fund Sponsor & Index
INTF is managed by Blackrock, and this fund has amassed over $841.65 million, which makes it one of the larger ETFs in the Broad Developed World ETFs. INTF, before fees and expenses, seeks to match the performance of the MSCI World ex USA Diversified Multi-Factor Index.
The MSCI World ex USA Diversified Multiple-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
When considering an ETF's total return, expense ratios are an important factor. And, cheaper funds can significantly outperform their more expensive cousins in the long term if all other factors remain equal.
Operating expenses on an annual basis are 0.15% for this ETF, which makes it one of the least expensive products in the space.
It's 12-month trailing dividend yield comes in at 6.04%.
Sector Exposure and Top Holdings
While ETFs offer diversified exposure, which minimizes single stock risk, a deep look into a fund's holdings is a valuable exercise. And, most ETFs are very transparent products that disclose their holdings on a daily basis.
When you look at individual holdings, Rio Tinto Plc (
RIO Quick Quote RIO - Free Report) accounts for about 2.24% of the fund's total assets, followed by Mercedesbenz Group N Ag and Nippon Telegraph And Telephone Cor.
INTF's top 10 holdings account for about 19.02% of its total assets under management.
Performance and Risk
Year-to-date, the iShares MSCI Intl Multifactor ETF has lost about -11.32% so far, and is down about -9.86% over the last 12 months (as of 05/20/2022). INTF has traded between $24.87 and $31.55 in this past 52-week period.
The fund has a beta of 0.85 and standard deviation of 21.52% for the trailing three-year period, which makes INTF a medium risk choice in this particular space. With about 211 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 $47.71 billion in assets, Vanguard FTSE Developed Markets ETF has $98.19 billion. VXUS has an expense ratio of 0.07% 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.