The Vanguard FTSE Developed Markets Index Fund ETF Shares (VEA) and the iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF (EEM) are both among the Top 100 ETFs. VEA is a Vanguard Foreign Large Blend fund and EEM is a iShares Diversified Emerging Mkts fund. So, what’s the difference between VEA and EEM? And which fund is better?
The expense ratio of VEA is 0.63 percentage points lower than EEM’s (0.05% vs. 0.68%). VEA also has a lower exposure to the financial services sector and a lower standard deviation. Overall, VEA has provided higher returns than EEM over the past ten years.
In this article, we’ll compare VEA vs. EEM. We’ll look at holdings and performance, as well as at their fund composition and risk metrics. Moreover, I’ll also discuss VEA’s and EEM’s industry exposure, annual returns, and portfolio growth and examine how these affect their overall returns.
|Name||Vanguard FTSE Developed Markets Index Fund ETF Shares||iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF|
|Category||Foreign Large Blend||Diversified Emerging Mkts|
The Vanguard FTSE Developed Markets Index Fund ETF Shares (VEA) is a Foreign Large Blend fund that is issued by Vanguard. It currently has 157.48B total assets under management and has yielded an average annual return of 7.05% over the past 10 years. The fund has a dividend yield of 2.49% with an expense ratio of 0.05%.
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%.
VEA’s dividend yield is 1.01% higher than that of EEM (2.49% vs. 1.48%). Also, VEA yielded on average 1.58% more per year over the past decade (7.05% vs. 5.47%). The expense ratio of VEA is 0.63 percentage points lower than EEM’s (0.05% vs. 0.68%).
The Vanguard FTSE Developed Markets Index Fund ETF Shares (VEA) has the most exposure to the Financial Services sector at 17.39%. This is followed by Industrials and Technology at 15.47% and 11.67% respectively. Real Estate (4.04%), Energy (4.17%), and Communication Services (5.41%) only make up 13.62% of the fund’s total assets.
VEA’s mid-section with moderate exposure is comprised of Basic Materials, Consumer Defensive, Healthcare, Consumer Cyclical, and Technology stocks at 8.24%, 8.61%, 10.6%, 11.31%, and 11.67%.
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%.
VEA is 1.00% less exposed to the Financial Services sector than EEM (17.39% vs 18.39%). VEA’s exposure to Industrials and Technology stocks is 10.86% higher and 9.69% lower respectively (15.47% vs. 4.61% and 11.67% vs. 21.36%). In total, Real Estate, Energy, and Communication Services also make up 5.29% less of the fund’s holdings compared to EEM (13.62% vs. 18.91%).
|Samsung Electronics Co Ltd||1.4%|
|ASML Holding NV||1.16%|
|Roche Holding AG||1.1%|
|Toyota Motor Corp||0.92%|
|LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE||0.84%|
|Shopify Inc A||0.7%|
VEA’s Top Holdings are Nestle SA, Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, ASML Holding NV, Roche Holding AG, and Toyota Motor Corp at 1.5%, 1.4%, 1.16%, 1.1%, and 0.92%.
LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE (0.84%), Novartis AG (0.82%), and Shopify Inc A (0.7%) have a slightly smaller but still significant weight. AstraZeneca PLC and SAP SE are also represented in the VEA’s holdings at 0.67% and 0.66%.
|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%.
VEA had its best year in 2017 with an annual return of 26.44%. VEA’s worst year over the past decade yielded -14.47% and occurred in 2018. In most years the Vanguard FTSE Developed Markets Index Fund ETF Shares provided moderate returns such as in 2016, 2010, and 2020 where annual returns amounted to 2.51%, 8.47%, and 10.29% respectively.
The year 2017 was the strongest year for EEM, returning 36.42% on an annual basis. The poorest year for EEM in the last ten years was 2011, with a yield of -18.87%. Most years the iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF has given investors modest returns, such as in 2014, 2016, and 2010, when gains were -2.82%, 10.51%, and 15.93% respectively.
|Fund||Initial Balance||Final Balance||CAGR|
A $10,000 investment in VEA would have resulted in a final balance of $19,290. This is a profit of $9,290 over 11 years and amounts to a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.05%.
With a $10,000 investment in EEM, the end total would have been $15,578. This equates to a $5,578 profit over 11 years and a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.47%.
VEA’s CAGR is 1.58 percentage points higher than that of EEM and as a result, would have yielded $3,712 more on a $10,000 investment. Thus, VEA outperformed EEM by 1.58% annually.
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