If exchange traded funds are good for the United States Secretary of the Treasury, who overseas financial and monetary matters for the U.S., then the investment vehicle might be a suitable tool for the average retail investor.

According to an Executive Branch Disclosure form filed in May 2012, Jacob “Jack” Lew, U.S. Treasury Secretary, has a major portion of his investments in five index-based ETFs: SPDR S&P 500 (NYSEArca: SPY), PowerShares Nasdaq 100 (NasdaqGM: QQQ), SPDR Mid-Cap 400 (NYSEArca: MDY), iShares Russell 2000 (NYSEArca: IWM) and SPDR Dow Jones Industrial Average (NYSEArca: DIA), reports Erick Balchunas for Bloomberg. [Treasury Secretary Nominee Lew is a Fan of ETFs]

These five ETFs listed show an average 10-year annualized return of 9.7%. In comparison, the approximately 3,000 U.S. focused equity mutual funds have a 10-year annualized average return of 8.7%. Over the past decade, Lew’s five ETFs are outperforming around two thirds of the group of U.S. equity mutual funds.

The low expenses on the ETFs has also helped Lew save thousands per year on fees. The five ETFs have an average expense ratio of just 0.19%, whereas U.S. equity mutual funds have an average 1.31% expense. In addition, this is not counting loads, capital gains, transaction costs and high turnover rates.

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