12 ETF Turkeys of 2023

From ESG to emerging markets and Treasuries, investors are fleeing these exchange-traded funds.

Jeff_Benjamin
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Wealth Management Editor
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Reviewed by: Kent Thune
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Edited by: Sean Allocca

As Americans hunker down for the annual Thanksgiving holiday tradition of watching football, eating and socializing (while trying to avoid conversations about politics and religion), we have compiled a list of 12 ETF turkeys to help fill any dead air during those family gatherings this weekend. 

With nearly 11 full months under its belt, 2023 has developed into a stark contrast from the unprecedented outcome of 2022, when both stocks and bonds finished in negative territory.

This year, through Nov. 21, the broad equity market as represented by the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (SPY) is up 16.4% while the bond market as tracked by iShares Core U.S. Aggregate Bond ETF (AGG) is down just 0.56%. 

But among the highs and lows this year, our ETF screener uncovered an eclectic list of strategies that have fallen out of favor as measured by outflows through Nov. 21. 

Worst ETFs of 2023 by Outflows

Below is a list of the worst ETFs of 2023, as measured by outflows through Nov. 21:

iShares ESG Aware MSCI USA (ESGU) 

  • Outflows YTD: $9.3B 
  • Total assets: $12.27B 
  • Outflows as a percentage of assets: 75% 
  • YTD performance: 15.4% 
  • Expense ratio: 0.15% 
  • Strategy: Tracks an index composed of U.S. companies that are selected and weighted for positive environmental, social and governance characteristics. 

Vanguard Short-Term Corporate Bond (VCSH) 

  • Outflows YTD: $6.8B 
  • Total assets: $33.9B 
  • Outflows as a percentage of assets: 20% 
  • YTD performance: 2.7% 
  • Expense ratio: 0.04% 
  • Strategy: Tracks a market-weighted index of investment-grade, fixed-rate corporate bonds with maturities between one and five years. 

iShares MSCI Emerging Markets (EEM) 

  • Outflows YTD: $6.6B 
  • Total assets: $16.4B 
  • Outflows as a percentage of assets: 40% 
  • YTD performance: 1.96% 
  • Expense ratio: 0.68% 
  • Strategy:  Tracks an index of emerging-market firms weighted by market cap. 

iShares Russell 1000 Value (IWD) 

  • Outflows YTD: $5.6B 
  • Total assets: $48.3B 
  • Outflows as a percentage of assets: 11.6% 
  • YTD performance: 0.64% 
  • Expense ratio: 0.19% 
  • Strategy: Tracks an index of U.S. large-cap and midcap value stocks. The index selects from U.S. stocks ranked 1-1,000 by market cap. 

Vanguard Short Term Bond (BSV) 

  • Outflows YTD: $5.5B 
  • Total assets: $32.1B 
  • Outflows as a percentage of assets: 17.1% 
  • YTD performance: 1.99% 
  • Expense ratio: 0.04% 
  • Strategy: Tracks a market-weighted index of U.S.-government bonds, investment-grade corporate and investment-grade international dollar-denominated bonds with maturities of one to five years. 

ProShares UltraPro QQQ (TQQQ) 

  • Outflows YTD: $4.4B 
  • Total assets: $17.7B 
  • Outflows as a percentage of assets: 24.8%
  • YTD performance: 136.6% 
  • Expense ratio: 0.88% 
  • Strategy: Provides 3x leveraged exposure to a modified market-cap-weighted index tracking 100 of the largest non-financial firms listed on the Nasdaq stock market. 

iShares 0-5 Year TIPS Bond (STIP) 

  • Outflows YTD: $4.3B 
  • Total assets: $8.99B 
  • Outflows as a percentage of assets: 47.8% 
  • YTD performance: 2.72% 
  • Expense ratio: 0.03% 
  • Strategy: Tracks a market-value-weighted index of U.S. Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities, or TIPS, with a remaining maturity of less than five years. 

iShares iBoxx USD Investment Grade Corporate Bond (LQD) 

  • Outflows YTD: $4.1B 
  • Total assets: $30.1B 
  • Outflows as a percentage of assets: 13.6% 
  • YTD performance: 0.29% 
  • Expense ratio: 0.14% 
  • Strategy: Tracks a market-weighted index of U.S. corporate investment-grade bonds across the maturity spectrum. 

iShares MSCI Emerging Markets Minimum Volatility Factor (EEMV) 

  • Outflows YTD: $4B 
  • Total assets: $4.2B 
  • Outflows as a percentage of assets: 95.2% 
  • YTD performance: 1.22% 
  • Expense ratio: 0.25% 
  • Strategy: Tracks an index of emerging-markets firms selected and weighted to create a low-volatility portfolio.

iShares MSCI USA Momentum Factor (MTUM) 

  • Outflows YTD: $3.8B 
  • Total assets: $8.1B 
  • Outflows as a percentage of assets: 46.9% 
  • YTD performance: 2.35% 
  • Expense ratio: 0.15% 
  • Strategy:  Tracks an index of large-cap and midcap U.S. equities, selected and weighted based on price appreciation over six- and 12-month periods and low volatility over the past three years. 

Health Care Select Sector SPDR (XLV) 

  • Outflows YTD: $3.3B 
  • Total assets: $36B 
  • Outflows as a percentage of assets: 9% 
  • YTD performance: -5.38% 
  • Expense ratio: 0.10% 
  • Strategy:  Tracks healthcare stocks within the S&P 500, weighted by market cap. 

Vanguard Short-Term Inflation-Protected Securities (VTIP) 

  • Outflows YTD: $3.2B 
  • Total assets: $13.2B 
  • Outflows as a percentage of assets: 24.2% 
  • YTD performance: 2.71% 
  • Expense ratio: 0.04% 
  • Strategy:  Tracks an index of TIPS with less than five years remaining to maturity. 

Contact Jeff Benjamin at [email protected] and find him on X at @BenjiWriter   

Jeff Benjamin is the wealth management editor at etf.com, responsible for coverage related to the financial planning industry. This includes writing, hosting podcasts, webinars, video interviews and presenting at in-person events.


Jeff is a veteran journalist with more than 30 years’ experience covering the financial markets. He has won more than two dozen national and regional awards for his reporting. He most recently worked as a senior columnist at InvestmentNews where he wrote about investment products and strategies, as well as the broader financial planning industry. Prior to that, Jeff worked as an analyst at Cerulli Associates where he researched and wrote reports on the alternative investments industry. Jeff also worked as a money management reporter at Dow Jones Newswires, where he covered the mutual fund industry.


Based in North Carolina, Benjamin is a former Marine and has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Central Michigan University.