USMV’s current financial services weight is than half SPLV’s weight to that sector, but the iShares offering has utilities allocation that is nearly triple that of its PowerShares rival. Another significant difference is technology exposure. USMV’s weight to that group is over 15% while SPLV devotes just 4.2% to tech stocks.

“Both ETFs have favorably low S&P Capital IQ risk considerations, aided by holdings that have above-average S&P Capital IQ Quality Rankings and investment-grade Standard & Poor’s Credit Ratings. Using more modern portfolio theory risk statistics, USMV has a lower three-year standard deviation (7.9 vs. 8.7), while SPLV has a lower beta (0.75 vs. 0.79) relative to the S&P 500 index,” said S&P Capital IQ.

The research firm rates both ETFs overweight.

PowerShares S&P 500 Low Volatility Portfolio