Making its debut on 08/27/2007, smart beta exchange traded fund First Trust STOXX European Select Dividend Index Fund (FDD) provides investors broad exposure to the European Equity 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.
But, there are some investors who would rather invest in smart beta funds; these funds track non-cap weighted strategies, and are a strong option for those who prefer choosing great stocks in order to beat the market.
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.
Even though this space provides many choices to investors--think one of the simplest methodologies like equal-weighting and more complicated ones like fundamental and volatility/momentum based weighting--not all have been able to deliver first-rate results.
Fund Sponsor & Index
The fund is sponsored by First Trust Advisors. It has amassed assets over $302.82 M, making it one of the larger ETFs in the European Equity ETFs. This particular fund seeks to match the performance of the STOXX Europe Select Dividend 30 Index before fees and expenses.
The STOXX Europe Select Dividend 30 Index consists of 30 high dividend-yielding securities selected from the STOXX Europe 600 Index.
Cost & Other Expenses
For ETF investors, expense ratios are an important factor when considering a fund's return; in the long-term, cheaper funds actually have the ability to outperform their more expensive cousins if all other things remain the same.
Annual operating expenses for this ETF are 0.57%, making it on par with most peer products in the space.
It's 12-month trailing dividend yield comes in at 8.66%.
Performance and Risk
So far this year, FDD return is roughly 6.99%, and is down about -2.83% in the last one year (as of 06/18/2019). During this past 52-week period, the fund has traded between $11.69 and $13.60.
The fund has a beta of 0.73 and standard deviation of 13.71% for the trailing three-year period, which makes FDD a medium risk choice in this particular space. With about 31 holdings, it has more concentrated exposure than peers.
First Trust STOXX European Select Dividend Index Fund is not a suitable option for investors seeking to outperform the European Equity ETFs segment of the market. Instead, there are other ETFs in the space which investors should consider.
IShares MSCI Eurozone ETF (EZU) tracks MSCI EMU Index and the Vanguard FTSE Europe ETF (
VGK Quick Quote VGK - Free Report) tracks FTSE Developed Europe All Cap Index. IShares MSCI Eurozone ETF has $5.86 B in assets, Vanguard FTSE Europe ETF has $13.32 B. EZU has an expense ratio of 0.47% and VGK charges 0.09%.
Investors looking for cheaper and lower-risk options should consider traditional market cap weighted ETFs that aim to match the returns of the European Equity 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.