Is First Trust Dow Jones Global Select Dividend Index Fund (FGD) a Strong ETF Right Now?

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A smart beta exchange traded fund, the First Trust Dow Jones Global Select Dividend Index Fund (FGD) debuted on 11/21/2007, and offers broad exposure to the Broad Developed World ETFs category of the market.

What Are Smart Beta ETFs?

For a long time now, the ETF industry has been flooded with products based on market capitalization weighted indexes, which are designed to represent the broader market or a particular market segment.

A good option for investors who believe in market efficiency, market cap weighted indexes offer a low-cost, convenient, and transparent way of replicating market returns.

On the other hand, some investors who believe that it is possible to beat the market by superior stock selection opt to invest in another class of funds that track non-cap weighted strategies--popularly known as smart beta.

Based on specific fundamental characteristics, or a combination of such, these indexes attempt to pick stocks that have a better chance of risk-return performance.

Even though this space provides many choices to investors--think one of the simplest methodologies like equal-weighting and more complicated ones like fundamental and volatility/momentum based weighting--not all have been able to deliver first-rate results.

Fund Sponsor & Index

The fund is managed by First Trust Advisors. FGD has been able to amass assets over $511.13 M, making it one of the average sized ETFs in the Broad Developed World ETFs. FGD seeks to match the performance of the Dow Jones Global Select Dividend Index before fees and expenses.

This Index is an indicated annual dividend yield weighted index of 100 stocks selected from the developed-market portion of the Dow Jones World Index.

Cost & Other Expenses

Investors should also pay attention to an ETF's expense ratio. Lower cost products will produce better results than those with a higher cost, assuming all other metrics remain the same.

With one of the more expensive products in the space, this ETF has annual operating expenses of 0.58%.

It's 12-month trailing dividend yield comes in at 5.33%.

Sector Exposure and Top Holdings

Even though ETFs offer diversified exposure which minimizes single stock risk, it is still important to look into a fund's holdings before investing. Luckily, most ETFs are very transparent products that disclose their holdings on a daily basis.

When you look at individual holdings, Element Fleet Management Corp. (EFN.CT) accounts for about 1.98% of the fund's total assets, followed by Galliford Try Plc (GFRD.LN) and Fortescue Metals Group Limited (FMG.AU).

The top 10 holdings account for about 16.04% of total assets under management.

Performance and Risk

The ETF return is roughly 10.29% and is down about -1.95% so far this year and in the past one year (as of 03/20/2019), respectively. FGD has traded between $21.06 and $26.44 during this last 52-week period.

FGD has a beta of 0.80 and standard deviation of 13.13% for the trailing three-year period, which makes the fund a low risk choice in the space. With about 102 holdings, it effectively diversifies company-specific risk.

Alternatives

First Trust Dow Jones Global Select Dividend Index Fund is not a suitable option for investors seeking to outperform the Broad Developed World ETFs segment of the market. Instead, there are other ETFs in the space which investors should consider.

IShares MSCI ACWI ETF (ACWI) tracks MSCI All Country World Index and the Vanguard Total World Stock ETF (VT) tracks FTSE Global All Cap Index. IShares MSCI ACWI ETF has $10.21 B in assets, Vanguard Total World Stock ETF has $12.89 B. ACWI has an expense ratio of 0.31% and VT charges 0.09%.

Investors looking for cheaper and lower-risk options should consider traditional market cap weighted ETFs that aim to match the returns of the Broad Developed World ETFs.

Bottom Line

To learn more about this product and other ETFs, screen for products that match your investment objectives and read articles on latest developments in the ETF investing universe, please visit Zacks ETF Center.


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First Trust Dow Jones Global Select Dividend Index Fund (FGD): ETF Research Reports
 
iShares MSCI ACWI ETF (ACWI): ETF Research Reports
 
Vanguard Total World Stock ETF (VT): ETF Research Reports
 
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