iShares ETFs

 

  • Exchange traded funds (ETFs) seek to provide the performance of a specified index, such as the S&P 500, less fees.
  • Like mutual funds, ETFs offer investors diversified exposure to a portfolio of securities, such as stocks, bonds, commodities and real estate.

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Key differences

ETFs trade on exchanges, like stocks, and offer investors potential benefits like intraday trading, daily transparency of holdings, and low fees. On average, iShares ETFs' fees are 1/3 lower than active mutual funds1 and have tax costs that are about ½ of those of active mutual funds.2

Read more about the similarities and differences between ETFs and mutual funds.

Why are ETFs popular?

Investors often associate ETFs with the largest stock indexes, such as the S&P 500, but ETFs offer exposure to virtually every asset class, sector, regions, theme and investment style.

Low fees, tax efficiency, liquidity and transparency are some of the features that are driving the popularity of ETFs. Since the launch of the first ETF in 1993, the growth of the ETF industry has been substantial, with more than $3 trillion invested in ETFs.3

Benefits of ETFs

For starters, ETFs cost significantly less than comparable active mutual funds — and that savings can add up over time. Other benefits include:

  • Access and liquidity. ETFs are traded on stock exchanges, so you can easily buy or sell.
  • Transparency. Just like mutual funds, ETFs report performance quarterly and fees on a daily basis.
  • Diversification. ETFs provide access to a world of investment options, covering a broad range of asset classes, sectors and geographies. At the same time, they make it easy for you to pinpoint specific themes or investment styles.

How are iShares ETFs different?

iShares is a leading ETF provider with more than 800 ETFs globally and $1.5 trillion in assets under management.4 Clients around the world trust iShares ETFs to build the foundations of their portfolios, pursue specific investment goals and implement market views.

You can gain broad and diversified exposures to key asset classes and markets through our iShares Core ETFs, or invest in specific strategies that might otherwise be difficult or expensive to access.

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Featured core U.S. stock funds

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Featured core international stock funds

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Featured core bond funds

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More about ETFs

What are some of the myths surrounding ETFs?

Investors have largely embraced ETF investing, but there are still misconceptions associated with them. One of the most common is that ETFs only track traditional market-weighted indexes, such as the S&P 500. While this is a popular approach, the world of ETFs has evolved considerably. Smart Beta ETFs, for example, provide investors with low cost access to strategies that seek higher returns at lower risk, similar to benefits delivered by some actively managed funds.

Another common misconception is that bond ETFs pose liquidity risks to the market. Bond ETFs actually add liquidity and transparency to fixed income markets.

What are the risks associated with ETFs?

As with mutual funds, the risks of investing via ETFs vary by asset class, strategy and region. Some ETFs are riskier than others. For example, an ETF that focuses on one sector, such as energy or biotechnology, may experience more price fluctuations than one that invests across all sectors. Likewise, if you invest in an ETF that holds securities in a currency other than your own, your returns may also be affected by movements in the exchange rate. All investments carry some risk; the key is finding the best balance of risk and return based on your investment horizon and desired outcome.