Don't Overlook International Smart Beta ETFs

With so many international exchange traded funds, both of the developed and emerging markets varieties, outpacing U.S. equivalents this year, it is easy for investors to overlook some gems in the ex-US crowd.

That could be what is happening with the Vident International Equity Fund (NASDAQ: VIDI). VIDI, which launched in late 2013, tracks the Vident Core International Equity Index, NASDAQ: VIEQX, which evaluates constituent countries “across growth, sound money, political stability and value factors. VIEQX rebalances twice a year and “seeks to reduce country, currency, and company concentration risks that can sometimes be typical amongst traditional capitalization-weighted approaches,” according to Vident data.

VIDI’s nearly 500 holdings are selected from 35 developed and emerging markets with an emphasis on quality traits such as robust GDP growth, high productivity ratios and low debt-to-GDP ratios.

The ETF is up 24% year-to-date, an advantage of almost 700 basis points over the Vanguard Total International Stock ETF (NASDAQ: VXUS). VIDI has recently been making a series of record highs and has not closed below its 200-day moving average since the fourth quarter of last year.

VIDI’s domestic stablemate is the Vident U. S. Core Equity Fund (NASDAQ: VUSE). The Vident Core U.S. Equity Index starts its selection universe with 3,000 companies with market values of at least $500 million and average daily volume of at least $1.5 million. From there, the top 80% as ranked by corporate governance, financial reporting and expense recognition are selected.