IEFA vs. VHT: What’s The Difference?

The iShares Core MSCI EAFE ETF (IEFA) and the Vanguard Health Care Index Fund ETF Shares (VHT) are both among the Top 100 ETFs. IEFA is a iShares Foreign Large Blend fund and VHT is a Vanguard Health fund. So, what’s the difference between IEFA and VHT? And which fund is better?

The expense ratio of IEFA is 0.03 percentage points lower than VHT’s (0.07% vs. 0.1%). IEFA also has a higher exposure to the industrials sector and a lower standard deviation. Overall, IEFA has provided lower returns than VHT over the past ten years.

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

Summary

IEFA VHT
Name iShares Core MSCI EAFE ETF Vanguard Health Care Index Fund ETF Shares
Category Foreign Large Blend Health
Issuer iShares Vanguard
AUM 95.78B 17.94B
Avg. Return 5.79% 16.04%
Div. Yield 2.28% 1.15%
Expense Ratio 0.07% 0.1%

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 Vanguard Health Care Index Fund ETF Shares (VHT) is a Health fund that is issued by Vanguard. It currently has 17.94B total assets under management and has yielded an average annual return of 16.04% over the past 10 years. The fund has a dividend yield of 1.15% with an expense ratio of 0.1%.

IEFA’s dividend yield is 1.13% higher than that of VHT (2.28% vs. 1.15%). Also, IEFA yielded on average 10.25% less per year over the past decade (5.79% vs. 16.04%). The expense ratio of IEFA is 0.03 percentage points lower than VHT’s (0.07% vs. 0.1%).

FYI: The best way I've found to invest in ETFs is through M1 Finance. It's free and you even get an instant line of credit! Have a look here (link to M1 Finance).

Fund Composition

Industry Exposure

IEFA vs. VHT - Industry Exposure

IEFA VHT
Technology 9.81% 0.05%
Industrials 16.32% 0.05%
Energy 3.19% 0.0%
Communication Services 5.53% 0.0%
Utilities 3.25% 0.0%
Healthcare 12.01% 99.57%
Consumer Defensive 9.78% 0.0%
Real Estate 4.31% 0.0%
Financial Services 15.91% 0.02%
Consumer Cyclical 11.96% 0.0%
Basic Materials 7.93% 0.31%

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 Vanguard Health Care Index Fund ETF Shares (VHT) has the most exposure to the Healthcare sector at 99.57%. This is followed by Basic Materials and Technology at 0.31% and 0.05% respectively. Real Estate (0.0%), Consumer Defensive (0.0%), and Utilities (0.0%) only make up 0.00% of the fund’s total assets.

VHT’s mid-section with moderate exposure is comprised of Communication Services, Energy, Financial Services, Industrials, and Technology stocks at 0.0%, 0.0%, 0.02%, 0.05%, and 0.05%.

IEFA is 16.27% more exposed to the Industrials sector than VHT (16.32% vs 0.05%). IEFA’s exposure to Financial Services and Healthcare stocks is 15.89% higher and 87.56% lower respectively (15.91% vs. 0.02% and 12.01% vs. 99.57%). In total, Utilities, Real Estate, and Communication Services also make up 13.09% more of the fund’s holdings compared to VHT (13.09% vs. 0.00%).

Holdings

IEFA - Holdings

IEFA Holdings Weight
Nestle SA 1.77%
ASML Holding NV 1.43%
Roche Holding AG 1.31%
LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE 1.08%
Novartis AG 1.0%
Toyota Motor Corp 0.92%
AstraZeneca PLC 0.78%
Unilever PLC 0.76%
AIA Group Ltd 0.74%
SAP SE 0.73%

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%.

VHT - Holdings

VHT Holdings Weight
Johnson & Johnson 7.34%
UnitedHealth Group Inc 6.44%
Pfizer Inc 3.7%
Abbott Laboratories 3.48%
Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc 3.37%
AbbVie Inc 3.37%
Merck & Co Inc 3.33%
Eli Lilly and Co 3.17%
Danaher Corp 2.91%
Medtronic PLC 2.83%

VHT’s Top Holdings are Johnson & Johnson, UnitedHealth Group Inc, Pfizer Inc, Abbott Laboratories, and Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc at 7.34%, 6.44%, 3.7%, 3.48%, and 3.37%.

AbbVie Inc (3.37%), Merck & Co Inc (3.33%), and Eli Lilly and Co (3.17%) have a slightly smaller but still significant weight. Danaher Corp and Medtronic PLC are also represented in the VHT’s holdings at 2.91% and 2.83%.

NOTE: The easiest way to add diversification to your portfolio is to invest in real estate through Fundrise. You can become private real estate investor without the burden of property management! Check it out here (link to Fundrise).

Performance

Annual Returns

IEFA vs. VHT - Annual Returns

Year IEFA VHT
2020 8.55% 18.21%
2019 22.67% 21.97%
2018 -14.2% 5.55%
2017 26.42% 23.34%
2016 1.36% -3.33%
2015 0.53% 7.22%
2014 -4.82% 25.38%
2013 23.73% 42.67%
2012 0.0% 19.1%
2011 0.0% 10.57%
2010 0.0% 5.75%

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 2013 was the strongest year for VHT, returning 42.67% on an annual basis. The poorest year for VHT in the last ten years was 2016, with a yield of -3.33%. Most years the Vanguard Health Care Index Fund ETF Shares has given investors modest returns, such as in 2011, 2020, and 2012, when gains were 10.57%, 18.21%, and 19.1% respectively.

Portfolio Growth

IEFA vs. VHT - Portfolio Growth

Fund Initial Balance Final Balance CAGR
IEFA $10,000 $14,008 5.79%
VHT $10,000 $24,392 16.04%

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 VHT, the end total would have been $24,392. This equates to a $14,392 profit over 7 years and a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 16.04%.

IEFA’s CAGR is 10.25 percentage points lower than that of VHT and as a result, would have yielded $10,384 less on a $10,000 investment. Thus, IEFA performed worse than VHT by 10.25% annually.


Current recommendations:

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) 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!

2) 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!).

3) If you are interested in crypto, check out Gemini. I've started allocating a small amount of assets to the growing crypto space and Gemini has just been a breeze to use. Once you register, make sure to also open an Active Trader account to buy crypto at the lowest fees on the market (just 0.03%!).

To see all of my most up-to-date recommendations, check out the Recommended Tools section.

Leave a Reply