ETFs over Mutual Funds
With less than 10 days away of Inovestor’s ETF launch on November 14th, we are seizing the opportunity to discuss this milestone for us and our affiliated company Inovestor. A couple years ago, we made a survey on future investable solutions and results were mixed between an ETF and a mutual fund. Back then, the timing wasn’t right for us and we kept the project on the back burner. Last year, we polled our clients again on the same topic and they largely requested an ETF.
INOC seeks to replicate the performance of the Nasdaq Inovestor Canada Index (NQICA), which tracks Inovestor’s Canadian Equity Model Portfolio Strategy. Unlike other quantitative strategies, the key differentiator is the reliance on economic profit factors to assess companies. Briefly, the economic profit is estimated by substracting the cost of capital from the net operating profit. After nearly a decade of outperformance which generated more than 7.6% annualized alpha over the S&P/TSX TR, approximately 300 investment advisor teams across Canada are using this Strategy in their practices.
Although we are launching this product to meet our client’s needs, this ETF is suitable to any investor looking for a factor-based quantitative Canadian Equity exposure. Today we will put emphasis on the fact that the methodology between the Strategy and the NQICA is identical except for the rebalancing method. The rebalancing for the Strategy is calendar rule-based while the NQICA is Equal-Weighted rule-based. You will find below the key features of those two rebalancing methods:
Calendar Rule-Based ─ Strategy
- Clients know it that way: Inovestor strategies are using this methodology;
- Simple to implement: Requires less time to implement at each portfolio rebalancing;
- Tax efficient: Doesn’t require buying / selling positions all the time, very tax efficient.
- Specific risk: There is an increased dependency on the performance of a few stocks;
- Larger weights: The portfolio is built to drift towards heavy weighted stocks;
- Size effect: Losers are replaced by new candidates at smaller weights.
Equal-Weighted Rule-Based ─ NQICA
- Easy to understand: All positions are readjusted at the same weights, very intuitive;
- Tends to outperform: Based on academic studies, although not the case right now;
- Specific risk mitigation: Tends to minimize the impact of a few stocks inside a portfolio.
- Higher portfolio turnover: All positions are readjusted at every portfolio rebalancing;
- Stocks with less liquidity: The strategy tends to favour smaller / less liquid companies;
- More time consuming: The rebalancing is costlier to implement as AUM increases.
Both rebalancing methods have different advantages and disadvantages. While it is true the Strategy did outperform the NQICA by 180bps since 2008, it did in a bullish environment where a few stocks drifted to large weights and accounted for a significant part of this outperformance. If these specific stocks underperform at some point, the NQICA is expected to outperform the Strategy. After all, positions are capped at 4%, the same as for all the 25 holdings.
The Horizons Inovestor Canadian Equity ETF (INOC) follows the same philosophy we are known for: 1) Quality At Reasonable Price (QARP), 2) Undexed (not following the S&P/TSX TR weights in this case), 3) Concentrated (25 positions) and 4) Low portfolio turnover (to lower trading costs and improve tax efficiency). We invite you to visit the ETFs section for all documentations related to this ETF launch. If you have any question, please contact us and we will assist you as soon as possible.