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Is Vanguard FTSE All-World ex-US Index Admiral (VFWAX) a Strong Mutual Fund Pick Right Now?

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If you're looking for an Index fund category, then a possible option is Vanguard FTSE All-World ex-US Index Admiral (VFWAX - Free Report) . VFWAX has no Zacks Mutual Fund Rank, but we have been able to look into other metrics like performance, volatility, and cost.

History of Fund/Manager

Vanguard Group is based in Malvern, PA, and is the manager of VFWAX. Vanguard FTSE All-World ex-US Index Admiral debuted in September of 2011. Since then, VFWAX has accumulated assets of about $5.46 billion, according to the most recently available information. The fund is currently managed by Justin E. Hales who has been in charge of the fund since February of 2016.


Of course, investors look for strong performance in funds. This fund has delivered a 5-year annualized total return of 2.16%, and it sits in the bottom third among its category peers. Investors who prefer analyzing shorter time frames should look at its 3-year annualized total return of 5.58%, which places it in the middle third during this time-frame.

When looking at a fund's performance, it is also important to note the standard deviation of the returns. The lower the standard deviation, the less volatility the fund experiences. Over the past three years, VFWAX's standard deviation comes in at 11.07%, compared to the category average of 8.25%. Over the past 5 years, the standard deviation of the fund is 11.49% compared to the category average of 8.65%. This makes the fund more volatile than its peers over the past half-decade.

Risk Factors

It's always important to be aware of the downsides to any future investment, so one should not discount the risks that come with this segment.

Even still, the fund has a 5-year beta of 0.92, so investors should note that it is hypothetically less volatile than the market at large. Because alpha represents a portfolio's performance on a risk-adjusted basis relative to a benchmark, which is the S&P 500 in this case, one should pay attention to this metric as well. VFWAX has generated a negative alpha over the past five years of -7.2, demonstrating that managers in this portfolio find it difficult to pick securities that generate better-than-benchmark returns.


For investors, taking a closer look at cost-related metrics is key, since costs are increasingly important for mutual fund investing. Competition is heating up in this space, and a lower cost product will likely outperform its otherwise identical counterpart, all things being equal. In terms of fees, VFWAX is a no load fund. It has an expense ratio of 0.11% compared to the category average of 0.74%. Looking at the fund from a cost perspective, VFWAX is actually cheaper than its peers.

While the minimum initial investment for the product is $3,000, investors should also note that each subsequent investment needs to be at least $1.

Bottom Line

For additional information on this product, or to compare it to other mutual funds in the Index, make sure to go to for additional information. Want to learn even more? We have a full suite of tools on stocks that you can use to find the best choices for your portfolio too, no matter what kind of investor you are.

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