Top 10 Smart Beta ETFs Of 2015

December 22, 2015

Japan Funds Dominate

It's been a good year for Japanese stocks. The broad market in the country, as measured by the iShares MSCI Japan ETF (EWJ | B-98), gained 8% in 2015 thanks to powerful monetary stimulus from the Bank of Japan, including the purchases of bonds, stocks and ETFs.

But as well as EWJ has performed, a number of smart-beta ETFs tied to the country have done even better. A total of four such ETFs made this top 10 list, including the WisdomTree Japan SmallCap Dividend ETF (DFJ | B-95) and the WisdomTree Japan Hedged SmallCap Equity ETF (DXJS | C-67), with gains of more than 16%.

Instead of focusing on market cap, DFJ ranks its holdings based on dividends. Meanwhile, DXJS is essentially the currency-hedged version of DFJ. The fund neutralizes its foreign currency exposure by shorting the yen.

The other two Japan ETFs to make the list are the iShares MSCI Japan Minimum Volatility ETF (JPMV | B-80) and the SPDR MSCI Japan Quality Mix ETF (QJPN | C-91), up 13.8% and 10.7% for the year, respectively.

Like its name implies, JPMV chooses its holdings to minimize the volatility of the fund. Meanwhile, QJPN takes it a step further by choosing its holdings based on three factors: low volatility, value and quality.

Other Smart-Beta Outperformers

Rounding out the top 10 were an eclectic group of funds. The PowerShares KBW Property & Casualty Insurance ETF (KBWP | B-62) rose by 12.7%, while the PowerShares DWA Consumer Staples Momentum ETF (PSL | B-64) added 12.3%.

Finally, the WisdomTree International Hedged Quality Dividend Growth ETF (IHDG | B-47) advanced 10.4%, while the WisdomTree Europe SmallCap Dividend ETF (DFE | C-79) returned almost 10%.

2015 Top 10 Smart-Beta ETFs

Ticker Fund Return
(%)
SBIO ALPS Medical Breakthroughs ETF 27.82
DFJ WisdomTree Japan SmallCap Dividend 16.78
DXJS WisdomTree Japan Hedged SmallCap Equity 16.21
JPMV iShares MSCI Japan Minimum Volatility 13.84
KBWP PowerShares KBW Property & Casualty Insurance 12.71
PSL PowerShares DWA Consumer Staples Momentum 12.28
QJPN SPDR MSCI Japan Quality Mix 10.68
PJP PowerShares Dynamic Pharmaceuticals 10.50
IHDG WisdomTree International Hedged Quality Dividend Growth 10.38
DFE WisdomTree Europe SmallCap Dividend 9.95

Returns through Dec. 18, 2015


Contact Sumit Roy at [email protected].

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