ETFs 101: Understated Traits of Owning an ETF

“While some uber-vigilant investors might care about the contents of an ETF’s portfolio enough to examine them every day, I think that most are attracted to the stability lent by the rules dictating the selection and weighting of the constituents of their portfolios. This is embodied in their indexes’ methodologies,” Johnson said.

ETFs are tax efficient despite high turnovers

According to Morningstar data, there were 49 strategic beta ETFs with a median annual turnover in excess of 100% for the five-years ended 2017, but only nine capital gains distributions among them.

“The tax efficiency lent by the ETF structure shines through in the case of high-turnover strategies,” Johnson said.

While ETFs may be toted as cheap investments with low expense ratios, Johnson warned that the industry undersells certain cost concerns ETF traders face, such as commission charges, bid-ask spreads on trades and potential tracking errors.

“Investors should sharpen their pencils to see whether it’s worth incurring these transaction costs,” Johnson added.

For more information on ETFs, visit our ETF 101 category.