Factor-based investing is a prominent theme and small-cap exchange traded funds are no exception. For example, the iShares Russell 2000 Growth ETF (NYSEArca: IWO) has nearly $7.5 billion in assets under management while the Vanguard Small-Cap Value ETF (NYSEArca: VBR) is a $5.2 billion ETF.
The growth stocks provide access to the faster growing and more expensive half of the U.S. small-cap market. The value stocks, on the other hand, provide exposure to cheaper and potentially higher-returning half of the small-caps market.
One of the kings among small-cap value ETFs is the Guggenheim S&P Smallcap 600 Pure Value ETF (NYSEArca: RZV), one of the top-performing ETFs since the start of the current bull market in March 2009. RZV was one of the top-performing broad market equity ETFs in 2012 and 2013. A $10,000 investment in RZV in March 2009 has grown to over $67,000 today. [Celebrating the Bull Market With ETFs]
Although RZV is a value spin on small-caps, it is not heavily allocated to low-beta sectors. Technology, energy and consumer discretionary names combine for 42% of the ETF’s weight. RZV’s largest sector allocation is 22.5% to industrials.
RZV’s heavier emphasis on value stocks has been a winning strategy over the past year as the ETF has outperformed the Russell 2000 by nearly 300 basis points. RZV has another advantage over the Russell 2000: A more attractive valuation. The Guggenheim offering has a P/E ratio of almost 16.2 and a price-to-book ratio of 1.08. For the iShares Russell 2000 ETF (NYSEArca: IWM), those numbers are 21.26 and 2.26.
With its value tilt, RZC offers investors some leverage to theme of rising small-cap dividends.