Vanguard’s Dividend, REIT and S&P 500 ETFs are great news for ETF Investors
Vanguard Canada appears to have been listening to ETF investors. The fund company known for its low-cost, plain vanilla index products will shortly be adding five new ETFs to its existing line up of six ETFs. The new ETFs are:
Vanguard FTSE Canadian High Dividend Yield Index ETF (TSX: VDY)
The ETF will track an index of Canadian stocks that sport a high dividend yield. There is very little information on the index available currently other than it is market cap weighted and focused on dividend income. The management fee is 0.30%. It is worth noting here that the new dividend ETF will be 0.20% to 0.30% cheaper than popular Canadian dividend ETFs such as the iShares Dow Jones Canada Select Dividend Index Fund (XDV) and the iShares S&P/TSX Canadian Dividend Aristocrats Index Fund (CDZ).
Vanguard FTSE Canadian Capped REIT Index ETF (TSX: VRE)
This ETF will track the FTSE Canada All Cap Real Estate Capped 25% Index. The index is composed of publicly-traded companies in the Canadian real estate sector with each constituent’s weight capped at 25%. The management fee is 0.35%, which is 0.20% cheaper than the popular iShares S&P/TSX Capped REIT Index ETF (XRE).
An interesting question is whether the new Vanguard REIT ETF is still worth unbundling to save on MERs. Let’s assume that an investor wants to hold five REITs in equal weights directly and rebalance once every year for the real estate portion of the portfolio. If the investor pays $10 per trade, the break-even point will be just $14,300.
Vanguard S&P 500 ETFs
The Vanguard S&P 500 Index ETF (ticker symbol VFV) finally provides Canadian investors access to a low-cost, US market ETF that does not hedge currency exposure. This ETF will provide investors with two advantages: (1) Eliminate the need to exchange Canadian dollars even if it is through low-cost currency conversion alternatives like the Norbert Gambit and (2) Provide Canadians with a way to avoid headaches with US Estate Taxes entirely. However, the Vanguard S&P 500 Index ETF will incur a drag of about 0.30% in RRSP and RRIF accounts compared to directly holding an US-listed ETF (See post on how withholding taxes affect the choice of international investments for an explanation).
The Vanguard S&P 500 Index ETF (CAD-Hedged) (TSX: VSP) is the currency-hedged version of the Vanguard S&P 500 Index ETF. Both ETFs will charge a management fee of 0.15% and both ETFs will simply hold the US-listed Vanguard S&P 500 ETF (VOO). VOO has an expense ratio of 0.05% but the Canadian-listed S&P 500 ETF management fees indicated are inclusive of VOO’s expenses.
Vanguard Canadian Short-Term Corporate Bond Index ETF (TSX: VSC)
This fund will track the Barclays Global Aggregate Canadian Credit 1-5 year Float Adjusted Bond Index, which is composed of investment grade corporate bonds with maturities ranging from one to five years. The management fee is 0.15%.
Note that the ETF MERs are likely to be slightly higher because certain operating expenses such as brokerage commissions and harmonized sales taxes will be charged to the fund in addition to the management fee. You can read the ETF prospectus here.