Ditching Volatility With This Truly Global ETF

Low volatility exchange traded funds have been hits with investors as proven by the PowerShares S&P 500 Low Volatility Portfolio (NYSEArca: SPLV) and the iShares MSCI USA Minimum Volatility ETF (NYSEArca: USMV).

Investors’ appetite for such funds is not limited to U.S.-focused as the iShares MSCI Emerging Markets Minimum Volatility ETF (NYSEArca: EEMV) and the PowerShares S&P International Developed Low Volatility Portfolio (NYSEArca: IDLV) have gained solid followings.

For the investor looking for a truly global approach to reduced volatility there is the iShares MSCI All Country World Minimum Volatility ETF (NYSEArca: ACWV). ACWV, which turns four in October, is now home to $2.2 billion in assets under management, up from $1.7 billion in February. [Big Growth for Low Vol ETFs]

The ETF takes about 340 of the least volatile stocks from the parent MSCI All Country World Index, selecting components based on the Barra Global Equity Model, along with a number of constraints to limit turnover.

“Historically, this fund’s correlation to the S&P 500 has generally been lower than the correlation between the average world-stock fund and the S&P 500 and has been similar to the correlation between the average foreign large-blend fund and the S&P 500. So even though this fund has a 54% weighting in U.S. equities, it does have the potential to provide better diversification (relative to the average world-stock fund) for an investor with a large exposure to U.S. equities,” according to Morningstar.

ACWV’s beta of 0.46% and three-year standard deviation of just 7.57% are pleasant surprises when considering the ETF allocates over 54% of its weight to U.S. stocks. Eight of the ETF’s top 10 holdings are U.S.-based companies.