Index Funds vs ETFs

Still, stuck between exchange-traded funds and ETFs? Yet to decide which of the two is better for your investment goals? They are more alike than unlike each other. There are still a number of differences between them that could help them stand out, however.

Defining an ETF

ETFs are investment collections brought together to mirror an index’s performance. As a rule, ETFs are affordable and liquid. They tend to be available across a vast range of commodities, indices, and other asset classes.

Low cost as passive funds are the largest indices. Investors can avail of ETFs for an annual fee of less than0.1%. Fees have been inversely proportional to fund size.

As a ruling representative of a wider range of investment options, ETFs are superior to index funds encompassing commodities, currencies, and interest rates. Moreover, incorporating leveraging, short ETFs may be had when investors wish to benefit from a diminished index price. It is a small wonder they are popular with traders taking short term market positions or scouting around for nuanced portfolio positioning.

Defining Index funds

Open-ended changes may be effected into index funds at any point in time. This is at variance with close-ended index funds where the capital pool remains the unchanged size. Index funds shares are proceeded daily as per ongoing net asset value.

The implication follows that the net asset value stands for underlying asset price, in contrast to closed-ended funds that may discount/premium trade relative to the net asset value.

Index funds come across as surprisingly forthright. Bought directly from the providers, they can also be had through an investment platform. You fully expect index performance, minus associated fees. Indeed funds as a rule track market via replication, implying they purchase all index stocks at their precise index weighing. In instances where that’s not a given, providers may deploy ‘sampling’ for index sampling. In other words, they would be buying vital stocks that have performance mirroring index performance.

Index funds vs ETFs - revisiting the similarities
Recapping what we already know, the following runs thru the similarities:

Index. equity tracking - index funds and ETFs both target the replication of index funds/ETFs performance with as much accuracy as possible sans an investment manager’s oversight;

Less risk - index funds and ETFs both carry less risk relative to bonds and stocks

Same indices tracked - index funds and ETFs index funds and ETFs have a number of common holdings, like the indices S&P 500, or the FTSE All-Share;
Investment options galore - markets and asset classes unlimited, with both;

Cost - both have the object of client-beneficial cost reduction;

Tax advantages - capital gains roll up within the fund tax-free, is just one of the several tax advantages these two instruments share.

Commonalities between ETFs and index funds just keep going:

Index funds and ETFs both bring together several investment products, be they bonds, stocks, or somesuch, into a single investment product. Both have grown more widely accepted across markets for a number of reasons

Only a few index funds or ETFs may result in a richly diversified portfolio. For example, an S&P 500 ETF will expose you to many companies region-wide.

Low cost

Index funds and ETFs are managed passively. This means that the fund investments are based on an index, which is but a part of the wider investing market. This is studied relative to an actively managed fund. Therein a broker ops for investing choices, precipitating expense ratio related costs. Per just one 2018 study, passively managed funds average annual expense ratio for that year was0.15%, relative to actively managed funds average expense ratio, which was 0.67%.

Strong long term returns

For long term investors, passively managed index funds have the tendency to outstrip actively managed mutual funds. This is because passively managed investments follow the movement of traced indices. As a result, these indices have, over the years, shown positive returns. For example, over the previous 90 years, the S&P 500 annual total return has averaged close to 10%.

Actively managed mutual funds may give a better performance in the short term since fund managers are giving current market condition based investment decisions. However, the lack of a good likelihood that fund managers will make regular market-topping decisions over an extended period may cause lower returns over time versus actively managed funds.

Index funds vs ETFs: a differentiation

Now there’s light to shed on the differences -
Background - passive funds are way older. The first-ever passive fund launch was in 1975. ETFs appeared first in 1993.

Index funds have a larger audience - this notwithstanding the recent stellar ETF run last handful of years;
buying/selling - bought/sold on an exchange, ETFs get investors an instant price, making the transaction per exchange settlement terms. Trading just once a day, index funds take a while to a while to liquidate a position, then settle it;

Timescales - owing to the way they are traded, index funds suit longer-term investors, in contrast to ETFs tending to suit investors going for flexible trading;
Minimum investment levels - for index funds, the minimum investment will, as a rule, be higher. The differences - with GBP 50 for ETFs and GBP 3000 for index funds - boggle the mind.


We need not force a decision between the two. You are the judge of what’s best for you. You might wish to recapitulate, however: ETFs will fit those who want to move in and out of markets swiftly; investors scouting around for short term movement trading, or ones with leverage; those wishing to have the most comprehensive choices; and those wishing transparent pricing for modest budgets. Conversely, index funds fit those long term investors; gunning for higher dividend rates; with conspicuous budgets; and those seeking to invest in mainstream indices.

Author's Bio: 

Am alexander james. And Am a blogger