IWF vs. MBB: What’s The Difference?

The iShares Russell 1000 Growth ETF (IWF) and the iShares MBS ETF (MBB) are both among the Top 100 ETFs. IWF is a iShares Large Growth fund and MBB is a iShares Intermediate Government fund. So, what’s the difference between IWF and MBB? And which fund is better?

The expense ratio of IWF is 0.13 percentage points higher than MBB’s (0.19% vs. 0.06%). IWF also has a high exposure to the technology sector while MBB is mostly comprised of AAA bonds. Overall, IWF has provided higher returns than MBB over the past ten years.

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


Name iShares Russell 1000 Growth ETF iShares MBS ETF
Category Large Growth Intermediate Government
Issuer iShares iShares
AUM 72.16B 25.69B
Avg. Return 17.72% 3.08%
Div. Yield 0.52% 1.88%
Expense Ratio 0.19% 0.06%

The iShares Russell 1000 Growth ETF (IWF) is a Large Growth fund that is issued by iShares. It currently has 72.16B total assets under management and has yielded an average annual return of 17.72% over the past 10 years. The fund has a dividend yield of 0.52% with an expense ratio of 0.19%.

The iShares MBS ETF (MBB) is a Intermediate Government fund that is issued by iShares. It currently has 25.69B total assets under management and has yielded an average annual return of 3.08% over the past 10 years. The fund has a dividend yield of 1.88% with an expense ratio of 0.06%.

IWF’s dividend yield is 1.36% lower than that of MBB (0.52% vs. 1.88%). Also, IWF yielded on average 14.65% more per year over the past decade (17.72% vs. 3.08%). The expense ratio of IWF is 0.13 percentage points higher than MBB’s (0.19% vs. 0.06%).

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Fund Composition


IWF - Holdings

IWF Holdings Weight
Apple Inc 10.51%
Microsoft Corp 9.85%
Amazon.com Inc 6.63%
Facebook Inc Class A 3.91%
Alphabet Inc Class A 3.2%
Alphabet Inc Class C 3.03%
Tesla Inc 2.45%
NVIDIA Corp 2.14%
Visa Inc Class A 1.91%
The Home Depot Inc 1.62%

IWF’s Top Holdings are Apple Inc, Microsoft Corp, Amazon.com Inc, Facebook Inc Class A, and Alphabet Inc Class A at 10.51%, 9.85%, 6.63%, 3.91%, and 3.2%.

Alphabet Inc Class C (3.03%), Tesla Inc (2.45%), and NVIDIA Corp (2.14%) have a slightly smaller but still significant weight. Visa Inc Class A and The Home Depot Inc are also represented in the IWF’s holdings at 1.91% and 1.62%.

MBB - Holdings

MBB Bond Sectors Weight
AAA 99.51%
Others 0.49%
Below B 0.0%
B 0.0%
BB 0.0%
BBB 0.0%
A 0.0%
AA 0.0%
US Government 0.0%

MBB’s Top Bond Sectors are ratings of AAA, Others, Below B, B, and BB at 99.51%, 0.49%, 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

Mean Return 1.48 0.2
R-squared 92.93 74.38
Std. Deviation 14.42 2.12
Alpha 2.16 0.14
Beta 1.03 0.6
Sharpe Ratio 1.19 0.87
Treynor Ratio 17.1 3.02

The iShares Russell 1000 Growth ETF (IWF) has a Treynor Ratio of 17.1 with a R-squared of 92.93 and a Standard Deviation of 14.42. Its Mean Return is 1.48 while IWF’s Beta is 1.03. Furthermore, the fund has a Alpha of 2.16 and a Sharpe Ratio of 1.19.

The iShares MBS ETF (MBB) has a R-squared of 74.38 with a Beta of 0.6 and a Alpha of 0.14. Its Sharpe Ratio is 0.87 while MBB’s Standard Deviation is 2.12. Furthermore, the fund has a Mean Return of 0.2 and a Treynor Ratio of 3.02.

IWF’s Mean Return is 1.28 points higher than that of MBB and its R-squared is 18.55 points higher. With a Standard Deviation of 14.42, IWF is slightly more volatile than MBB. The Alpha and Beta of IWF are 2.02 points higher and 0.43 points higher than MBB’s Alpha and Beta.

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Annual Returns

IWF vs. MBB - Annual Returns

2020 38.21% 4.03%
2019 36.08% 6.27%
2018 -1.68% 0.81%
2017 29.96% 2.37%
2016 6.92% 1.28%
2015 5.48% 1.28%
2014 12.84% 6.16%
2013 33.19% -1.92%
2012 15.03% 2.23%
2011 2.47% 5.88%
2010 16.47% 5.44%

IWF had its best year in 2020 with an annual return of 38.21%. IWF’s worst year over the past decade yielded -1.68% and occurred in 2018. In most years the iShares Russell 1000 Growth ETF provided moderate returns such as in 2014, 2012, and 2010 where annual returns amounted to 12.84%, 15.03%, and 16.47% respectively.

The year 2019 was the strongest year for MBB, returning 6.27% on an annual basis. The poorest year for MBB in the last ten years was 2013, with a yield of -1.92%. Most years the iShares MBS ETF has given investors modest returns, such as in 2012, 2017, and 2020, when gains were 2.23%, 2.37%, and 4.03% respectively.

Portfolio Growth

IWF vs. MBB - Portfolio Growth

Fund Initial Balance Final Balance CAGR
IWF $10,000 $55,920 17.72%
MBB $10,000 $13,906 3.08%

A $10,000 investment in IWF would have resulted in a final balance of $55,920. This is a profit of $45,920 over 11 years and amounts to a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 17.72%.

With a $10,000 investment in MBB, the end total would have been $13,906. This equates to a $3,906 profit over 11 years and a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.08%.

IWF’s CAGR is 14.65 percentage points higher than that of MBB and as a result, would have yielded $42,014 more on a $10,000 investment. Thus, IWF outperformed MBB by 14.65% annually.

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