An ETF Strategy to Avoid Volatility Outside the U.S.

As has been widely documented throughout 2017, investors are flocking to international exchange traded funds in search of value. While many investors are looking for international bargains and diversification with ex-US ETFs, some do not want to incur the volatility often associated with international equities.

The $6.7 billion iShares Edge MSCI Min Vol EAFE ETF (NYSEArca: EFAV) is an avenue to consider for investors looking to skirt international volatility. EFAV, which turns six years old later this year, “seeks to track the investment results of an index composed of developed market equities that, in the aggregate, have lower volatility characteristics relative to the broader developed equity markets, excluding the U.S. and Canada,” according to iShares.

EFAV tracks the MSCI EAFE Minimum Volatility (USD) Index, a low volatility answer to the widely followed MSCI EAFE Index.

The low or minimum volatility strategy targets stocks that have lower expected risk or less idiosyncratic risks. Specifically, the strategy targets equities that exhibit lower beta, a measure of volatility or systematic risk of a security to that of the overall market. Consequently, minimum volatility portfolios are constructed with stocks that exhibit lower market risk or beta.