There are countless exchange traded fund avenues for investors looking for diversified, ex-U.S. developed market exposure with the dominant names including the iShares MSCI EAFE ETF (NYSEArca: EFA) and the Vanguard FTSE Developed Markets ETF (NYSEArca: VEA).
Investors looking for something beyond the standard market cap-weighted approach have plenty of choices as well thanks to the smart beta boom. Last year, smart beta ETFs attracted $65.1 billion in new assets, nearly double the $34.2 billion hauled in by the group in 2012. [A Record Year of ETF Inflows]
The FlexShares Morningstar Developed Markets ex-US Factor Tilt Index Fund (NYSEArca: TLTD) stands as a worthy alternative to the typical EAFE-based ETF and an unheralded one at that. TLTD debuted in September 2012 and somewhat quietly has amassed $484.1 million in assets under management. [FlexShares Bolsters Factor Lineup]
On the surface, TLTD, which carries an annual expense ratio of 0.42% looks like a standard EAFE ETF due to its noticeable allocations to Japan and Australia, among other developed markets. However, TLTD does feature a legitimate “tilt” and it is toward “smaller-cap and value stocks using a multi-factor modeling approach that attempts to enhance portfolio risk/return characteristics,” according to FlexShares.
Although Japan, Canada and Australia combine for 35% of TLTD’s weight, the ETF is also a credible way for investors to gain exposure to developed Europe. Comparatively speaking, developed Europe is not such a bad place to be these, especially if the thesis that the equity market recovery there is still lagging the U.S. [Italy ETF Looks Strong]