The iShares Core MSCI EAFE ETF (IEFA) and the iShares Preferred and Income Securities ETF (PFF) are both among the Top 100 ETFs. IEFA is a iShares Foreign Large Blend fund and PFF is a iShares Preferred Stock fund. So, what’s the difference between IEFA and PFF? And which fund is better?
The expense ratio of IEFA is 0.39 percentage points lower than PFF’s (0.07% vs. 0.46%). IEFA also has a higher exposure to the industrials sector and a lower standard deviation. Overall, IEFA has provided lower returns than PFF over the past ten years.
In this article, we’ll compare IEFA vs. PFF. We’ll look at industry exposure and annual returns, as well as at their fund composition and risk metrics. Moreover, I’ll also discuss IEFA’s and PFF’s performance, holdings, and portfolio growth and examine how these affect their overall returns.
|Name||iShares Core MSCI EAFE ETF||iShares Preferred and Income Securities ETF|
|Category||Foreign Large Blend||Preferred Stock|
The iShares Core MSCI EAFE ETF (IEFA) is a Foreign Large Blend fund that is issued by iShares. It currently has 95.78B total assets under management and has yielded an average annual return of 5.79% over the past 10 years. The fund has a dividend yield of 2.28% with an expense ratio of 0.07%.
The iShares Preferred and Income Securities ETF (PFF) is a Preferred Stock fund that is issued by iShares. It currently has 19.8B total assets under management and has yielded an average annual return of 6.90% over the past 10 years. The fund has a dividend yield of 4.47% with an expense ratio of 0.46%.
IEFA’s dividend yield is 2.19% lower than that of PFF (2.28% vs. 4.47%). Also, IEFA yielded on average 1.11% less per year over the past decade (5.79% vs. 6.90%). The expense ratio of IEFA is 0.39 percentage points lower than PFF’s (0.07% vs. 0.46%).
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The iShares Core MSCI EAFE ETF (IEFA) has the most exposure to the Industrials sector at 16.32%. This is followed by Financial Services and Healthcare at 15.91% and 12.01% respectively. Utilities (3.25%), Real Estate (4.31%), and Communication Services (5.53%) only make up 13.09% of the fund’s total assets.
IEFA’s mid-section with moderate exposure is comprised of Basic Materials, Consumer Defensive, Technology, Consumer Cyclical, and Healthcare stocks at 7.93%, 9.78%, 9.81%, 11.96%, and 12.01%.
The iShares Preferred and Income Securities ETF (PFF) has the most exposure to the Utilities sector at 81.81%. This is followed by Industrials and Basic Materials at 10.27% and 3.74% respectively. Financial Services (0.0%), Consumer Defensive (0.0%), and Communication Services (0.0%) only make up 0.00% of the fund’s total assets.
PFF’s mid-section with moderate exposure is comprised of Energy, Technology, Real Estate, Healthcare, and Basic Materials stocks at 0.0%, 0.0%, 0.65%, 3.54%, and 3.74%.
IEFA is 6.05% more exposed to the Industrials sector than PFF (16.32% vs 10.27%). IEFA’s exposure to Financial Services and Healthcare stocks is 15.91% higher and 8.47% higher respectively (15.91% vs. 0.0% and 12.01% vs. 3.54%). In total, Utilities, Real Estate, and Communication Services also make up 69.37% less of the fund’s holdings compared to PFF (13.09% vs. 82.46%).
|ASML Holding NV||1.43%|
|Roche Holding AG||1.31%|
|LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE||1.08%|
|Toyota Motor Corp||0.92%|
|AIA Group Ltd||0.74%|
IEFA’s Top Holdings are Nestle SA, ASML Holding NV, Roche Holding AG, LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE, and Novartis AG at 1.77%, 1.43%, 1.31%, 1.08%, and 1.0%.
Toyota Motor Corp (0.92%), AstraZeneca PLC (0.78%), and Unilever PLC (0.76%) have a slightly smaller but still significant weight. AIA Group Ltd and SAP SE are also represented in the IEFA’s holdings at 0.74% and 0.73%.
|Broadcom Inc Broadcom Inc 8 % Mandatory Convertible Preferred Stock Ser A||2.54%|
|BlackRock Cash Funds Treasury SL Agency||2.3%|
|Wells Fargo & Co 7 1/2 % Non Cum Perp Conv Pfd Shs -A- Series -L-||1.79%|
|Bank of America Corp 7 1/4 % Non-Cum Perp Conv Pfd Shs Series -L-||1.49%|
|ArcelorMittal S.A. 5.5%||1.36%|
|Danaher Corp PRF CONVERT 15/04/2022 USD – Ser A||1.35%|
|Danaher Corp 5% PRF PERPETUAL USD 1000 – Ser B||1.14%|
|NextEra Energy Inc Unit||1.12%|
|Citigroup Capital XIII Floating Rate Trust Pfd Secs Registered 2010-30.10.4||1.08%|
|Avantor Inc Ser A||0.99%|
PFF’s Top Holdings are Broadcom Inc Broadcom Inc 8 % Mandatory Convertible Preferred Stock Ser A, BlackRock Cash Funds Treasury SL Agency, Wells Fargo & Co 7 1/2 % Non Cum Perp Conv Pfd Shs -A- Series -L-, Bank of America Corp 7 1/4 % Non-Cum Perp Conv Pfd Shs Series -L-, and ArcelorMittal S.A. 5.5% at 2.54%, 2.3%, 1.79%, 1.49%, and 1.36%.
Danaher Corp PRF CONVERT 15/04/2022 USD – Ser A (1.35%), Danaher Corp 5% PRF PERPETUAL USD 1000 – Ser B (1.14%), and NextEra Energy Inc Unit (1.12%) have a slightly smaller but still significant weight. Citigroup Capital XIII Floating Rate Trust Pfd Secs Registered 2010-30.10.4 and Avantor Inc Ser A are also represented in the PFF’s holdings at 1.08% and 0.99%.
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IEFA had its best year in 2017 with an annual return of 26.42%. IEFA’s worst year over the past decade yielded -14.2% and occurred in 2018. In most years the iShares Core MSCI EAFE ETF provided moderate returns such as in 2010, 2015, and 2016 where annual returns amounted to 0.0%, 0.53%, and 1.36% respectively.
The year 2012 was the strongest year for PFF, returning 18.25% on an annual basis. The poorest year for PFF in the last ten years was 2018, with a yield of -4.77%. Most years the iShares Preferred and Income Securities ETF has given investors modest returns, such as in 2015, 2020, and 2017, when gains were 4.62%, 7.94%, and 8.33% respectively.
|Fund||Initial Balance||Final Balance||CAGR|
A $10,000 investment in IEFA would have resulted in a final balance of $14,008. This is a profit of $4,008 over 7 years and amounts to a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.79%.
With a $10,000 investment in PFF, the end total would have been $15,473. This equates to a $5,473 profit over 7 years and a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.90%.
IEFA’s CAGR is 1.11 percentage points lower than that of PFF and as a result, would have yielded $1,465 less on a $10,000 investment. Thus, IEFA performed worse than PFF by 1.11% annually.
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