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Should Vanguard SmallCap Growth ETF (VBK) Be on Your Investing Radar?

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Designed to provide broad exposure to the Small Cap Growth segment of the US equity market, the Vanguard SmallCap Growth ETF (VBK - Free Report) is a passively managed exchange traded fund launched on 01/26/2004.

The fund is sponsored by Vanguard. It has amassed assets over $11.78 billion, making it the largest ETFs attempting to match the Small Cap Growth segment of the US equity market.

Why Small Cap Growth

There's a lot of potential to investing in small cap companies, but with market capitalization below $2 billion, that high potential comes with even higher risk.

While growth stocks do boast higher than average sales and earnings growth rates, and they are expected to grow faster than the wider market, investors should note these kinds of stocks have higher valuations. Additionally, growth stocks have a greater level of risk associated with them. When you consider growth versus value, growth stocks are usually the clear winner in strong bull markets but tend to fall flat in nearly all other environments.


Investors should also pay attention to an ETF's expense ratio. Lower cost products will produce better results than those with a higher cost, assuming all other metrics remain the same.

Annual operating expenses for this ETF are 0.07%, making it one of the least expensive products in the space.

It has a 12-month trailing dividend yield of 0.38%.

Sector Exposure and Top Holdings

ETFs offer a 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.

Looking at individual holdings, Coterra Energy Inc. Accounts for about 0.85% of total assets, followed by Entegris Inc. (ENTG - Free Report) and Bio-Techne Corp. (TECH - Free Report) .

Performance and Risk

VBK seeks to match the performance of the CRSP U.S. Small Cap Growth Index before fees and expenses. The CRSP U.S. Small Cap Growth Index measures the investment return of small-capitalization growth stocks.

The ETF has lost about -29.37% so far this year and is down about -31.16% in the last one year (as of 07/04/2022). In the past 52-week period, it has traded between $188.16 and $305.79.

The ETF has a beta of 1.15 and standard deviation of 28.94% for the trailing three-year period, making it a medium risk choice in the space. With about 743 holdings, it effectively diversifies company-specific risk.


Vanguard SmallCap Growth ETF carries a Zacks ETF Rank of 3 (Hold), which is based on expected asset class return, expense ratio, and momentum, among other factors. Thus, VBK is a good option for those seeking exposure to the Style Box - Small Cap Growth area of the market. Investors might also want to consider some other ETF options in the space.

The iShares S&P SmallCap 600 Growth ETF (IJT - Free Report) and the iShares Russell 2000 Growth ETF (IWO - Free Report) track a similar index. While iShares S&P SmallCap 600 Growth ETF has $4.76 billion in assets, iShares Russell 2000 Growth ETF has $8.98 billion. IJT has an expense ratio of 0.18% and IWO charges 0.24%.


Retail and institutional investors increasingly turn to passively managed ETFs because they offer low costs, transparency, flexibility, and tax efficiency; these kind of funds are also excellent vehicles for long term investors.

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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