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number cruncher

What are we looking for?

Picks from Canada’s newest exchange-traded funds.

The screen

Morningstar has written in the recent past about the meteoric rise of the ETF and subsequent “death” of the mutual fund structure in the U.S. market, and the Canadian investment fund market now shows a similar trend. Morningstar’s data show that since 2017 or thereabouts, the pace of Canadian mutual fund launches has slowed, while ETF launches have seen a decidedly upward trajectory in terms of the number of new products being brought to market. Looking back at the first 10 months of this year, 143 Canadian-listed ETFs were launched despite the challenging investing environment.

New ETFs present a challenge for investors because they often don’t have much performance history. Moreover, ETFs can be bought and sold without advice from a financial adviser, which presents further concerns given that today’s ETF investment strategies can be quite a bit more complex than a traditional capitalization-weighted index. Between actively managed ETFs, those that invest in a “theme” or more broadly a sector and those that systematically target an investment factor (such as value/growth, momentum, yield), putting together one’s own asset allocation presents many challenges to a regular Canadian investor.

Today, we shine a light on the newest Canadian-listed ETFs by looking at them through the lens of the Morningstar medalist rating. This forward-looking rating is useful for newer funds because it does not depend on performance history and accounts for qualitative factors such as the stewardship of the parent firm, the tenure of the people managing the ETF and the robustness of the investment process, alongside fees. Our data show that on aggregate, funds that receive a medal (gold, silver or bronze) outperform those that are rated neutral or negative in periods after receiving said ratings. The screen I ran looks only at ETFs launched this year and excludes those that are simply a relaunch of an existing mutual fund strategy.

What we found

New Canadian ETFs

NameMorningstar CategoryActive/PassiveTickerMER (%)Inception DateMorningstar Medalist RatingCanadian Equity % U.S. Equity % International Equity % Fixed Income % Cash % Other % (Net)
iShares MSCI EM ex China ETFEmerging Markets EquityPassiveXEMC-T0.302023-02-07Gold0.000.1499.670.000.200.00
iShares 20+ Year US Treasury Bd ETFGlobal Fixed IncomePassiveXTLT-T0.182023-02-07Silver0.000.000.0099.360.640.00
CIBC International Equity Index ETF CADHInternational EquityPassiveCIEH-T0.182023-01-12Silver0.000.43101.250.00-1.67-0.01
iShares Core Canadian 15+ Yr Fdrl Bd ETFCanadian Long Term Fixed IncomePassiveXFLB-T0.172023-02-07Silver0.000.000.0099.990.010.00
TD Canadian Bank Dividend ETFFinancial Services EquityPassiveTBNK-T0.272023-04-20Silver99.420.000.000.000.540.04
BMO US Aggregate Bond ETFGlobal Fixed IncomePassiveZUAG-U-T0.092023-01-23Silver0.000.000.0099.300.700.00
iShares 20+ Year US Treasury Bd ETFGlobal Fixed IncomePassiveXTLT-U-T0.182023-02-07Silver0.000.000.0099.360.640.00
Evolve S&P 500® Enhanced Yield CAD HdgUS EquityPassiveESPX-B-T0.682023-01-09Silver0.0099.680.410.00-0.090.00
BMO US TIPS ETFGlobal Fixed IncomePassiveTIPS-U-T0.172023-01-23Bronze0.000.000.0099.550.450.00
Invesco S&P/TSX CA Div Aristocrats ESGCanadian Dividend & Income EquityStrategic BetaICAE-T0.232023-02-15Bronze99.710.000.000.000.290.00
RBC Canadian Dividend Covered Call ETFCanadian EquityActiveRCDC-T0.762023-01-17Bronze51.950.130.470.000.3647.08
RBC U.S. Dividend Covered Call ETFUS EquityActiveRUDC-T0.732023-01-17Bronze0.0099.370.000.001.00-0.37
Hamilton Canadian Fincls Yld Mxmzr ETFFinancial Services EquityPassiveHMAX-T0.712023-01-20Bronze99.520.00-0.420.000.890.00
CI US Min Downside Vol ETF HUS EquityPassiveCUDV-T0.342023-01-19Bronze0.0099.340.050.000.600.00
Hamilton Canadian Bk Equal-Wght Idx ETFFinancial Services EquityPassiveHEB-T0.252023-04-03Bronze99.120.000.000.000.880.00
CI Conservative Asset Allocation ETFCommGlobal Fixed Income BalancedPassiveCCNV-T0.382023-05-17Bronze6.405.776.7780.630.390.05
CI Balanced Income Asset Allc ETF CommGlobal Fixed Income BalancedPassiveCBIN-T0.382023-05-17Bronze12.0211.4013.3462.790.400.04

Source: Morningstar Direct | Data as of Oct 10, 2023

The Canadian-domiciled ETFs that received a medalist rating are listed in the table accompanying this article. Included in this table are fees, whether the fund is actively or passively managed, an idea of asset allocation and the category to which each fund belongs. The category and asset allocation columns are of particular importance as they provide investors with hints on how they might fit into a well-diversified portfolio spanning multiple asset classes and regions. Case in point: TBNK-T, HMZX and HEB-T invest explicitly in the financial-services sector (think bank stocks), which would make these funds useful as a way to augment your broader sector exposure, but an arguably risky choice if they make up the majority of your portfolio.

Though some performance history is available on a subset of funds, they are purposely not displayed here as they serve little use to long-term investors.

This article does not constitute financial advice. It is always recommended to conduct one’s own independent research before buying or selling any of the ETFs mentioned in this article.

Ian Tam, CFA, is the director of investment research for Morningstar Canada.

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Tickers mentioned in this story

Study and track financial data on any traded entity: click to open the full quote page. Data updated as of 30/05/24 3:48pm EDT.

SymbolName% changeLast
XEMC-T
Ishares MSCI Emerg Mkts Ex China Idx ETF
-1.3%46.47

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