Good money has been made by investing in the main Canadian stock market index – close to 7.5 per cent annually on average for the past 30 years.
But the S&P/TSX composite index is definitely flawed. It's our very own index and totally reflective of corporate Canada. But that means it's poorly diversified – there's a 34 per cent weighting in financials like banks, and another third covered off by resource stocks. Tech is barely 3.5 per cent, and health care is a laughable 0.7 per cent. If you're looking for a more diversified investing experience, take a look at these six index busters.
Each is a mutual fund or exchange-traded fund that shows a comparatively low correlation to the S&P/TSX composite. The correlation measure used here is three-year beta. The index has a beta of 1.0 and each of the six index busters has a beta of 0.75 or lower (the lower the beta, the lower the correlation to the index). To make the list of index busters, a fund also had to be widely available to investors and have an annualized five-year total return to May 31 that beat the 9.2-per-cent total return produced by the S&P/TSX composite index.
Here are the six index busters, listed alphabetically:
- BMO Low Volatility Canadian Equity ETF (ZLB): A strikingly low three-year beta of 0.39 on this very strong performer. Expect it to falter when the index powers ahead. Five-year gain of 16.4 per cent and a management expense ratio of 0.39 per cent.
- Empire Life Canadian Equity A: Generated an annualized 10 per cent gain over the past five years, even with a pricey MER of 2.3 per cent. Beta comes in at 0.71.
- Fidelity True North B: The giant in this group with $1.4-billion in assets. A beta of 0.61 and a five-year return of 10.7 per cent. The MER is 2.26 per cent.
- First Asset Morningstar National Bank Québec Index ETF (QXM): Tracks an index of companies with headquarters in Quebec. The beta is 0.56, and the five-year return is 15.6 per cent. The MER is 0.58 per cent.
- Mawer Canadian Equity A: An annualized five-year return of 13.9 per cent and a beta of 0.75. The MER is low for a mutual fund at 1.22 per cent.
- PowerShares S&P/TSX Composite Low Volatility Index ETF (TLV): Five-year returns of 11.5 per cent and a beta of 0.57. The MER is 0.34 per cent.
Research these funds further using the ETF and mutual fund database on Globeinvestor.com. In particular, look at the mix of sectors. The whole point of using an index buster is to be more effectively diversified than the index.