The iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF (EEM) and the iShares MSCI USA Quality Factor ETF (QUAL) are both among the Top 100 ETFs. EEM is a iShares Diversified Emerging Mkts fund and QUAL is a iShares Large Blend fund. So, what’s the difference between EEM and QUAL? And which fund is better?
The expense ratio of EEM is 0.53 percentage points higher than QUAL’s (0.68% vs. 0.15%). EEM also has a lower exposure to the technology sector and a higher standard deviation. Overall, EEM has provided lower returns than QUAL over the past ten years.
In this article, we’ll compare EEM vs. QUAL. We’ll look at performance and fund composition, as well as at their annual returns and risk metrics. Moreover, I’ll also discuss EEM’s and QUAL’s portfolio growth, industry exposure, and holdings and examine how these affect their overall returns.
|Name||iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF||iShares MSCI USA Quality Factor ETF|
|Category||Diversified Emerging Mkts||Large Blend|
The iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF (EEM) is a Diversified Emerging Mkts fund that is issued by iShares. It currently has 30.33B total assets under management and has yielded an average annual return of 5.47% over the past 10 years. The fund has a dividend yield of 1.48% with an expense ratio of 0.68%.
The iShares MSCI USA Quality Factor ETF (QUAL) is a Large Blend fund that is issued by iShares. It currently has 23.93B total assets under management and has yielded an average annual return of 13.42% over the past 10 years. The fund has a dividend yield of 1.29% with an expense ratio of 0.15%.
EEM’s dividend yield is 0.19% higher than that of QUAL (1.48% vs. 1.29%). Also, EEM yielded on average 7.95% less per year over the past decade (5.47% vs. 13.42%). The expense ratio of EEM is 0.53 percentage points higher than QUAL’s (0.68% vs. 0.15%).
The iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF (EEM) has the most exposure to the Technology sector at 21.36%. This is followed by Financial Services and Consumer Cyclical at 18.39% and 15.16% respectively. Utilities (1.99%), Industrials (4.61%), and Healthcare (5.06%) only make up 11.66% of the fund’s total assets.
EEM’s mid-section with moderate exposure is comprised of Energy, Consumer Defensive, Basic Materials, Communication Services, and Consumer Cyclical stocks at 5.17%, 5.45%, 9.07%, 11.76%, and 15.16%.
The iShares MSCI USA Quality Factor ETF (QUAL) has the most exposure to the Technology sector at 22.52%. This is followed by Financial Services and Healthcare at 15.87% and 13.22% respectively. Basic Materials (2.35%), Utilities (2.41%), and Real Estate (2.72%) only make up 7.48% of the fund’s total assets.
QUAL’s mid-section with moderate exposure is comprised of Consumer Defensive, Industrials, Consumer Cyclical, Communication Services, and Healthcare stocks at 8.57%, 9.22%, 9.43%, 11.44%, and 13.22%.
EEM is 1.16% less exposed to the Technology sector than QUAL (21.36% vs 22.52%). EEM’s exposure to Financial Services and Consumer Cyclical stocks is 2.52% higher and 5.73% higher respectively (18.39% vs. 15.87% and 15.16% vs. 9.43%). In total, Utilities, Industrials, and Healthcare also make up 13.19% less of the fund’s holdings compared to QUAL (11.66% vs. 24.85%).
|Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd||6.36%|
|Alibaba Group Holding Ltd Ordinary Shares||4.58%|
|Tencent Holdings Ltd||4.41%|
|Samsung Electronics Co Ltd||4.05%|
|Naspers Ltd Class N||1.04%|
|Reliance Industries Ltd Shs Dematerialised||0.97%|
|China Construction Bank Corp Class H||0.83%|
EEM’s Top Holdings are Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd, Alibaba Group Holding Ltd Ordinary Shares, Tencent Holdings Ltd, Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, and Meituan at 6.36%, 4.58%, 4.41%, 4.05%, and 1.24%.
Vale SA (1.04%), Naspers Ltd Class N (1.04%), and Reliance Industries Ltd Shs Dematerialised (0.97%) have a slightly smaller but still significant weight. Infosys Ltd and China Construction Bank Corp Class H are also represented in the EEM’s holdings at 0.92% and 0.83%.
|Facebook Inc Class A||4.77%|
|Nike Inc Class B||4.05%|
|Johnson & Johnson||2.99%|
|Mastercard Inc Class A||2.72%|
|Alphabet Inc Class A||2.49%|
QUAL’s Top Holdings are Facebook Inc Class A, Nike Inc Class B, Microsoft Corp, Apple Inc, and Johnson & Johnson at 4.77%, 4.05%, 3.54%, 3.52%, and 2.99%.
BlackRock Inc (2.87%), Target Corp (2.8%), and Mastercard Inc Class A (2.72%) have a slightly smaller but still significant weight. NVIDIA Corp and Alphabet Inc Class A are also represented in the QUAL’s holdings at 2.71% and 2.49%.
The iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF (EEM) has a Alpha of -2.33 with a Treynor Ratio of 2.22 and a Sharpe Ratio of 0.22. Its Mean Return is 0.38 while EEM’s Standard Deviation is 17.79. Furthermore, the fund has a Beta of 1.08 and a R-squared of 83.5.
The iShares MSCI USA Quality Factor ETF (QUAL) has a R-squared of 0 with a Standard Deviation of 0 and a Treynor Ratio of 0. Its Alpha is 0 while QUAL’s Sharpe Ratio is 0. Furthermore, the fund has a Mean Return of 0 and a Beta of 0.
EEM’s Mean Return is 0.38 points higher than that of QUAL and its R-squared is 83.50 points higher. With a Standard Deviation of 17.79, EEM is slightly more volatile than QUAL. The Alpha and Beta of EEM are 2.33 points lower and 1.08 points higher than QUAL’s Alpha and Beta.
EEM had its best year in 2017 with an annual return of 36.42%. EEM’s worst year over the past decade yielded -18.87% and occurred in 2011. In most years the iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF provided moderate returns such as in 2014, 2016, and 2010 where annual returns amounted to -2.82%, 10.51%, and 15.93% respectively.
The year 2019 was the strongest year for QUAL, returning 34.14% on an annual basis. The poorest year for QUAL in the last ten years was 2018, with a yield of -5.77%. Most years the iShares MSCI USA Quality Factor ETF has given investors modest returns, such as in 2010, 2015, and 2016, when gains were 0.0%, 5.56%, and 9.18% respectively.
|Fund||Initial Balance||Final Balance||CAGR|
A $10,000 investment in EEM would have resulted in a final balance of $14,575. This is a profit of $4,575 over 7 years and amounts to a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.47%.
With a $10,000 investment in QUAL, the end total would have been $23,251. This equates to a $13,251 profit over 7 years and a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13.42%.
EEM’s CAGR is 7.95 percentage points lower than that of QUAL and as a result, would have yielded $8,676 less on a $10,000 investment. Thus, EEM performed worse than QUAL by 7.95% annually.
Over the past years, I have discovered several tools and products that have helped me tremendously on my path to financial freedom:
P.S.: The links below are affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you when you sign up for one of the services. Thank you for your support!
1)Personal Capital is simply the best tool out there to track your net worth and plan for financial freedom. Just their retirement planner alone has become an invaluable tool to keep myself on track financially. Try it out, it's free!
2) Take a look at M1 Finance, my favorite broker. I love how easy it is to invest and maintain my portfolio with them. I can set up automatic transfers, rebalance my portfolio with one click and even borrow up to 35% of my assets at super low interest rates!
3) Fundrise is by far the best way I've found to invest in Real Estate. You can diversify your portfolio by investing in their eREITs or even allocate capital to individual properties (without the hassle of managing tenants!).
4) Groundfloor is another great way to get exposure to the real estate sector by investing in short-term, high-yield real estate debt. Current returns are >10% and you can get started with just $10.
5) If you are interested in startup investing, check out Mainvest. I've started allocating a small amount of assets to invest in and support small businesses. Return targets are between 10-25% and you can start with just $100!
To see all of my most up-to-date recommendations, check out the Recommended Tools section.