First Trust Rolls Out Country AlphaDex ETFs

February 15, 2012

First Trust jumps further into the single-country ETF space with seven new funds.


First Trust, the Wheaton, Ill.-based fund provider behind the popular Internet-linked fund “FDN,” today added seven single-country ETFs to its roster of funds that are built around the company’s AlphaDex indexing methodology.

The new ETFs, which serve up focused exposure to countries in Asia and Europe, join the company’s other single-country AlphaDex ETFs launched last April, each focused respectively on Brazil, China, South Korea and Japan.

The funds, which each have an annual expense ratio of 0.80 percent, include:

  • First Trust Australia AlphaDex Fund (NYSEArca: FAUS)
  • First Trust United Kingdom AlphaDex Fund (NYSEArca: FKU)
  • First Trust Taiwan AlphaDex Fund (NYSEArca: FTW)
  • First Trust Hong Kong AlphaDex Fund (NYSEArca: FHK)
  • First Trust Switzerland AlphaDex Fund (NYSEArca: FSZ)
  • First Trust Germany AlphaDex Fund (NYSEArca: FGM)
  • First Trust Canada AlphaDex Fund (NYSEArca: FCAN)


First Trust’s lineup joins a growing universe of single-country ETFs dominated by iShares. ETFs targeting single countries are emerging as a new way to design asset allocation strategies and manage risk. iShares began bringing its single-country ETFs to market in the mid-1990s.

Many of the funds have gathered significant assets. The iShares MSCI Canada Index Fund (NYSEArca: EWC), for example, has $4.68 billion in assets and its iShares MSCI Brazil Index Fund (NYSEArca: EWZ) has upward of $11 billion.

Meanwhile, the iShares MSCI Australia (NYSEArca: EWA) has gathered $2.8 billion. Both Canada and Australia boast natural-resources-rich economies.

First Trust’s ETFs also tap into some key markets that are in the frontlines of China’s growth story, while its European funds focus on some of the regions’ strongest economies.

The AlphaDex Twist

First Trust’s ETFs, however, add a quasi-active element to these single-country strategies that differ from the otherwise-purely beta competing funds.

The company’s AlphaDex quantitative indexing methodology seeks to generate extra return relative to traditional pure-beta market-capitalization-weighted indexes by employing an active security selection process. The company first rolled out its AlphaDex methodology in 2007.

First Trust already offers 30 AlphaDex ETFs tapping into everything from specific countries to sector, to size and style methodologies.

Apart from its AlphaDex funds, the company is also known for its niche ETF strategies, notably its $543 million First Trust Dow Jones Internet ETF (NYSEArca: FDN).


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