Launched on 08/27/2007, the First Trust STOXX European Select Dividend ETF (FDD) is a smart beta exchange traded fund offering broad exposure to the European Equity ETFs category of the market.
What Are Smart Beta ETFs?
For a long time now, the ETF industry has been flooded with products based on market capitalization weighted indexes, which are designed to represent the broader market or a particular market segment.
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.
Based on specific fundamental characteristics, or a combination of such, these indexes attempt to pick stocks that have a better chance of risk-return performance.
The smart beta space gives investors many different choices, from equal-weighting, one of the simplest strategies, to more complicated ones like fundamental and volatility/momentum based weighting. However, not all of these methodologies have been able to deliver remarkable returns.
Fund Sponsor & Index
FDD is managed by First Trust Advisors, and this fund has amassed over $206.42 million, which makes it one of the average sized ETFs in the European Equity ETFs. Before fees and expenses, this particular fund seeks to match the performance of the STOXX Europe Select Dividend 30 Index.
The STOXX Europe Select Dividend 30 Index consists of 30 high dividend-yielding securities selected from the STOXX Europe 600 Index.
Cost & Other Expenses
Expense ratios are an important factor in the return of an ETF and in the long-term, cheaper funds can significantly outperform their more expensive cousins, other things remaining the same.
Annual operating expenses for this ETF are 0.58%, making it on par with most peer products in the space.
It’s 12-month trailing dividend yield comes in at 3.44%.
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.
Looking at individual holdings, Aegon N.v. (AGN.NA) accounts for about 6.70% of total assets, followed by Standard Life Aberdeen Plc (SLA.LN) and Legal & General Group Plc (LGEN.LN).
The top 10 holdings account for about 47.24% of total assets under management.
Performance and Risk
Year-to-date, the First Trust STOXX European Select Dividend ETF has lost about -17.91% so far, and is down about -3.65% over the last 12 months (as of 08/31/2020). FDD has traded between $8.41 and $14.36 in this past 52-week period.
FDD has a beta of 0.84 and standard deviation of 23.85% for the trailing three-year period, which makes the fund a medium risk choice in the space. With about 31 holdings, it has more concentrated exposure than peers.
First Trust STOXX European Select Dividend ETF 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.
JPMorgan BetaBuilders Europe ETF (BBEU) tracks MORNINGSTAR DEV EUROPE TARGET MKT EXP ID and the Vanguard FTSE Europe ETF (VGK) tracks FTSE Developed Europe All Cap Index. JPMorgan BetaBuilders Europe ETF has $5.22 billion in assets, Vanguard FTSE Europe ETF has $12.10 billion. BBEU has an expense ratio of 0.09% and VGK charges 0.08%.
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.
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First Trust STOXX European Select Dividend ETF (FDD): ETF Research Reports
Vanguard FTSE Europe ETF (VGK): ETF Research Reports
JPMorgan BetaBuilders Europe ETF (BBEU): ETF Research Reports
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