Many investors like the idea of removing some of the volatility from the emerging markets equity trade, but leaving returns on the table is not appealing.

However, the PowerShares S&P Emerging Markets Low Volatility Portfolio (NYSEArca: EELV) is impressing with a year-to-date return of more than 13%.

Now more than five years old, EELV is one of the most venerable names among emerging market low volatility exchange traded funds, a fact confirmed by its more than $252 million in assets under management. EELV tracks the S&P BMI Emerging Markets Low Volatility Index, which is a collection of the 200 stocks from the S&P Emerging BMI Plus LargeMid Cap Index with lowest trailing 12-month volatility.

Extensive research has gone over the so-called low-volatility anomaly. As a more conservative strategy, low-volatility investments are expected to provide investors with smaller swings and more boring returns. However, the strategy has historically outperformed with higher risk-adjusted returns.

The weaker dollar could be helping EELV and emerging markets stocks this year.