What is Exchange Traded Fund (ETF)?

ETF stands for an exchange-traded fund. It is an open-ended investment fund listed and traded on a stock exchange. There are 3 types of ETFs listed in Bursa Market, which are equity ETFs, fixed income ETFs and commodity ETFs. In Malaysia, the ETFs were managed under licensed asset management companies like Affin Hwang Asset Management Berhad, AmFunds Management Berhad, CIMB Principal Asset Management Berhad and i-VCAP Management Sdn Bhd.

Diversified Exposure

ETF combines the features of an Index fund and a stock, which you able to invest to a counter with various stocks or bonds or commodities included. The features offer you to gain exposure to a geographical region, market, industry, commodity or even specific investment style such as growth or value. For example, MYETF DOW JONES U.S. TITANS 50 (0827EA) is a Shariah-compliant equity ETF traded in US Dollar. It comprising the 50 largest companies listed on NYSE and Nasdaq. It is good for investors who like to diversify their capital in US market with just buying the ETF. Another example, CIMB FTSE ASEAN 40 MALAYSIA (0822EA) consists of 40 constituent stocks from 5 ASEAN countries namely Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines. Investors who like to diversify their capital throughout ASEAN countries, this ETF provides a good simplified solution.

Controllability

The combination basket of stock inside the ETF is predetermined and will be managed by the fund manager through the market. Once the transaction successful, the investor will become one of the unitholders of the fund. The controllability of an investor is just the same as holding a stock counter, can sell whenever it worth to sell and buy whenever it worth to buy with personal judgement.

Liquidity

The liquidity of an ETF relies on a combination of primary and secondary factors. The primary factors include the composition of the ETF and the trading volume of the underlying assets. ETFs can be invested in some asset types including real estate, fixed income, equities, commodities and futures. Within the equity universe, ETFs can focus on different market capital size and different level of risk. With the diverse selection of the ETF’s focus, the liquidity will be affected. Besides, the trading volume of underlying individual stocks does matter too. The more actively traded particular security is, the more liquid it is.

Secondary factors are the trading volume of the ETF itself and also the investment environment.  Taking an example to compare CIMBC50 with ABFMY1, CIMBC50 will get higher liquidity as more investors trading on. Due to trading activity is a direct reflection of the supply and demand for financial securities, the trading environment will also affect the liquidity. As Malaysia ETF market is not mature yet, investors could hardly to sell off their ETF at the desired price and make a big spread. Hence, it is more advised for a long-term investment for ETFs to trade on Bursa Exchange.

Transparency

The list of the ETF constituents will be updated on the ETF’s website by daily basis. Hence, investors can accurately know the current stocks or underlying assets been held within the ETF.

Conclusion

Overall, ETF is a financial product made up with the concept of a mutual fund but been sold or traded like a stock on the exchange. An investor can consider ETFs to diversify their portfolio and reduce their profile risk at a lower cost. However, for traders, ETFs are not that advisable as lower trading volume compared to stocks or commodities assets.

A comparison table between ETF with stocks and unit trust has been prepared and listed below.

  ETF Stocks Unit Trust
Purchasing platform Listed on Stock Exchange Listed on Stock Exchange Through unit trust consultant
Exposure High diversity on particular asset class Only individual shares Various diversity
Controllability Yes,

on volume, selling and buying timing

Yes,

on all decisions

No,

Had already passed the management right to the trustee

Price May change any time in trading hours May change any time during trading hours Disclose after market close
Liquidity Currently low,
as low trading volume
High,
anytime when match buying/selling price
Middle,

transaction available after market close

Cost-effectiveness Yes,
a minimum of RM10 or 0.1% of capital
Yes,
a minimum of RM10 or 0.1% of capital
No,
the various cost will be charged
Transparency High,

constituents updated by daily basis

High,

all actions were taken by own

Low,

the result of profile receiving once a year

Written by Evelyn Yong | 04 March 2019.

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Site last updated April 23, 2019 @ 7:58 am; This content last updated March 7, 2019 @ 7:30 am