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.
That does not mean these ETFs lack for detractors. There is no dearth of folks that doubt the efficacy of intelligent indexing or the concept’s ability to be effectively applied beyond broad market funds. Evidence does exist to support the notion that intelligent indexing has previously worked and can do so again in the future at the sector level. [Equal Weight ETFs for All]
The First Trust Health Care AlphaDEX Fund (NYSEArca: FXH) is a prime example of smart beta sector ETF that has an impressive track record and is also delivering for investors in the here and now. No, it cannot be overlooked that health care has been one of just two (utilities is the other) S&P 500 sectors to generate positive returns this year, but FXH has surged more than 6% in 2014. That is better than the broader market and some large cap-weighted health care ETFs. [Health Care Delivers Despite Broader Market Struggles]
As is the case with the other AlphaDEX ETFs, FXH’s holdings are selected based on “growth factors including three, six and 12-month price appreciation, sales to price and one year sales growth, and, separately, on value factors including book value to price, cash flow to price and return on assets,” according to First Trust.
The methodology has worked for FXH. In the past six years, FXH has only traded lower once while outpacing cap-weighted equivalents four times.