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BNDX vs. TLT: What’s The Difference?

The Vanguard Total International Bond Index Fund ETF Shares (BNDX) and the iShares 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETF (TLT) are both among the Top 100 ETFs. BNDX is a Vanguard N/A fund and TLT is a iShares Long Government fund. So, what’s the difference between BNDX and TLT? And which fund is better?

The expense ratio of BNDX is 0.07 percentage points lower than TLT’s (0.08% vs. 0.15%). BNDX is mostly comprised of A bonds and TLT has a high exposure to AAA bond. Overall, BNDX has provided lower returns than TLT over the past ten years.

In this article, we’ll compare BNDX vs. TLT. We’ll look at fund composition and industry exposure, as well as at their holdings and risk metrics. Moreover, I’ll also discuss BNDX’s and TLT’s portfolio growth, performance, and annual returns and examine how these affect their overall returns.

Introduction To Mutual Funds
Introduction To Mutual Funds
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Summary

BNDXTLT
NameVanguard Total International Bond Index Fund ETF SharesiShares 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETF
CategoryN/ALong Government
IssuerVanguardiShares
AUM116.41B15.15B
Avg. Return4.63%9.00%
Div. Yield0.94%1.5%
Expense Ratio0.08%0.15%

The Vanguard Total International Bond Index Fund ETF Shares (BNDX) is a N/A fund that is issued by Vanguard. It currently has 116.41B total assets under management and has yielded an average annual return of 4.63% over the past 10 years. The fund has a dividend yield of 0.94% with an expense ratio of 0.08%.

The iShares 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETF (TLT) is a Long Government fund that is issued by iShares. It currently has 15.15B total assets under management and has yielded an average annual return of 9.00% over the past 10 years. The fund has a dividend yield of 1.5% with an expense ratio of 0.15%.

BNDX’s dividend yield is 0.56% lower than that of TLT (0.94% vs. 1.5%). Also, BNDX yielded on average 4.37% less per year over the past decade (4.63% vs. 9.00%). The expense ratio of BNDX is 0.07 percentage points lower than TLT’s (0.08% vs. 0.15%).

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Fund Composition

Holdings

BNDX - Holdings

BNDX Bond SectorsWeight
A29.19%
AA26.79%
AAA21.59%
BBB19.41%
Others1.57%
Below B1.45%
B0.0%
BB0.0%
US Government0.0%

BNDX’s Top Bond Sectors are ratings of A, AA, AAA, BBB, and Others at 29.19%, 26.79%, 21.59%, 19.41%, and 1.57%. The fund is less weighted towards Below B (1.45%), B (0.0%), and BB (0.0%) rated bonds.

TLT - Holdings

TLT Bond SectorsWeight
AAA100.0%
Others0.0%
Below B0.0%
B0.0%
BB0.0%
BBB0.0%
A0.0%
AA0.0%
US Government0.0%

TLT’s Top Bond Sectors are ratings of AAA, Others, Below B, B, and BB at 100.0%, 0.0%, 0.0%, 0.0%, and 0.0%. The fund is less weighted towards BBB (0.0%), A (0.0%), and AA (0.0%) rated bonds.

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Risk Analysis

BNDXTLT
Mean Return00.63
R-squared068.76
Std. Deviation012.76
Alpha0-2.83
Beta03.54
Sharpe Ratio00.55
Treynor Ratio01.82

The Vanguard Total International Bond Index Fund ETF Shares (BNDX) has a Beta of 0 with a R-squared of 0 and a Mean Return of 0. Its Alpha is 0 while BNDX’s Sharpe Ratio is 0. Furthermore, the fund has a Treynor Ratio of 0 and a Standard Deviation of 0.

The iShares 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETF (TLT) has a Sharpe Ratio of 0.55 with a R-squared of 68.76 and a Beta of 3.54. Its Standard Deviation is 12.76 while TLT’s Treynor Ratio is 1.82. Furthermore, the fund has a Mean Return of 0.63 and a Alpha of -2.83.

BNDX’s Mean Return is 0.63 points lower than that of TLT and its R-squared is 68.76 points lower. With a Standard Deviation of 0, BNDX is slightly less volatile than TLT. The Alpha and Beta of BNDX are 2.83 points higher and 3.54 points lower than TLT’s Alpha and Beta.

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Performance

Annual Returns

BNDX vs. TLT - Annual Returns

YearBNDXTLT
20204.6%17.92%
20197.88%14.93%
20182.94%-2.07%
20172.4%8.92%
20164.67%1.36%
20151.08%-1.65%
20148.83%27.35%
20130.0%-13.91%
20120.0%3.25%
20110.0%33.6%
20100.0%9.25%

BNDX had its best year in 2014 with an annual return of 8.83%. BNDX’s worst year over the past decade yielded 0.0% and occurred in 2013. In most years the Vanguard Total International Bond Index Fund ETF Shares provided moderate returns such as in 2015, 2017, and 2018 where annual returns amounted to 1.08%, 2.4%, and 2.94% respectively.

The year 2011 was the strongest year for TLT, returning 33.6% on an annual basis. The poorest year for TLT in the last ten years was 2013, with a yield of -13.91%. Most years the iShares 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETF has given investors modest returns, such as in 2012, 2017, and 2010, when gains were 3.25%, 8.92%, and 9.25% respectively.

Portfolio Growth

BNDX vs. TLT - Portfolio Growth

FundInitial BalanceFinal BalanceCAGR
BNDX$10,000$13,6954.63%
TLT$10,000$18,3529.00%

A $10,000 investment in BNDX would have resulted in a final balance of $13,695. This is a profit of $3,695 over 7 years and amounts to a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.63%.

With a $10,000 investment in TLT, the end total would have been $18,352. This equates to a $8,352 profit over 7 years and a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9.00%.

BNDX’s CAGR is 4.37 percentage points lower than that of TLT and as a result, would have yielded $4,657 less on a $10,000 investment. Thus, BNDX performed worse than TLT by 4.37% annually.


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