Update: db x-trackers MSCI EMU Index UCITS ETF (DR)

Dieser ETF bildet den MSCI EMU ab, der deutlich breiter gefasst ist als der Euro STOXX 50 und entsprechend nicht nur die Giganten unter den Konzernen der Eurozone abbildet. Übergewicht deutscher und französischer Aktien ist dennoch zu beachten.

Kenneth Lamont 20.05.2016

Rolle im Portfolio

Investors in eurozone equities have a lot to thank the European Central Bank for since the 2011-12 sovereign debt crisis, which threatened to break up the Monetary Union. The MSCI EMU Index has risen more than 70% since Mario Draghi’s pledge in mid-2012 to “do whatever it takes” to preserve the euro. As of this writing, the MSCI EMU Index hovers below its 2007 pre-crisis highs.

The unprecedented quantitative easing programme unveiled by the ECB in January 2015 has given investors fresh reason to be optimistic about the region. The programme, which was expanded in March 2016, now involves the buying of EUR 80 billion of government bonds on a monthly basis until, at the earliest, March 2017. Full-blown QE represents the latest, and most dramatic in a series of economic stimulus measures introduced by the ECB, including earlier asset-buying initiatives (for example, covered bonds) and successive interest-rate cuts that have left lending rates hugging the zero bound. Such an enormous and sustained stimulus package, in conjunction with a falling euro and low energy prices, can be expected to boost price levels and stimulate growth.

In spite of a more positive domestic macro outlook, downside risks to eurozone equity valuations remain. The potential for significant political tensions within the monetary union has resurfaced with the election of the Syriza coalition in Greece, which swept to power on an anti-austerity, debt-forgiveness ticket. The spectre of a "Grexit" refuses to recede, and the resultant uncertainty continues to blight the eurozone. This said, the risks of contagion within the monetary union appear to have subsided for the time being.

Elsewhere, although there have been signs of progress, the lack of wide-ranging structural reforms in countries like France and Italy remains a concern, too. Fiscal discipline and relaxation of labour laws in these two countries are deemed essential if the ECB’s ultraloose monetary policy is to be fully effective.

All this said; it should not be forgotten that a large portion of the MSCI EMU Index comprises predominantly large, stable, high-quality companies that do a large amount of business internationally. Some of the largest index components are companies with a large presence in emerging markets--Latin America in the case of Banco Santander, and Asia in the case of Unilever. These multinationals fortunes will be tied, at least in part, to those of emerging markets.

Indexkonstruktion

The MSCI EMU Index includes about 240 stocks representing approximately 85% of the free-float-adjusted market cap of all publicly traded companies based in EMU countries. Eligible securities are weighed by free-float-adjusted market cap. The index is reviewed quarterly, with May and November semiannual reviews tending to be more comprehensive than those undertaken in February and August. French and German equities make up 60%-65% of the index by value. At the time of writing, the top sector weighting is financial services (20%) followed by consumer cyclical (13%), industrials (12%), and consumer defensive (11%). French oil and gas giant Total, French pharmaceutical multinational Sanofi, and Belgian brewer Anheuser-Busch InBev are the three largest index constituents, each maintaining around 3% of weighting.

Fondskonstruktion

This ETF physically replicates the performance of the MSCI EMU Net Total Return Index. It achieves this by holding all index constituents in their prescribed weightings. The fund uses futures for cash flow and dividend management purposes. This is standard practice and helps limit tracking error. The fund engages in securities lending to help improve tracking performance. Gross lending revenues are split 70/30 between the fund and Deutsche International Corporate Services Limited (DICSIL), which serves as lending agent. DICSIL covers all the operational costs associated with the securities lending transactions (net returns to the fund are 0.05% per year). Although this activity can help to fully offset holding costs, it potentially exposes investors to counterparty risk. To protect the fund, borrowers are requested to post collateral greater than the loan value. The company website reveals that the daily average percentage on loan was 5.9% in the last 12 months, while the maximum percentage on loan on any single day was 12.6%. As a general rule, no more than 50% of the fund's assets can be lent out at any given time. As an additional protection measure, Deutsche Bank provides borrower default indemnification--that is, in the event of a borrower insolvency or default, the bank will indemnify the fund for any shortfall between the proceeds from collateral liquidation and the market value of the securities on loan.

Gebühren

The fund charges a management fee of 0.15%, making it one of the cheapest ETFs offering broad-basket EMU equity exposure. Like all ETFs tracking the MSCI EMU Index, the fund, which uses full physical replication, has outperformed its benchmark in recent years. This outperformance can be attributed to the use of tax optimisation (the fund enjoys a better withholding tax rate than the index) and efficient portfolio management techniques (such as securities lending). This combination of low TER and efficient portfolio management techniques has seen the fund register superior outperformance when compared with other funds tracking the reference index during both 2014 and 2015. Other potential costs for the investor include bid-ask spreads and brokerage fees when buy and sell orders are placed for the ETF.

Alternativen

Currently, of all the ETFs tracking the MSCI EMU Index, db X-trackers MSCI EMU ETF charges the lowest management fee (TER of 0.15%). This has translated into superior outperformance when compared with other funds tracking the reference index, offered by providers such as UBS, Amundi, Lyxor, SPDR, and ComStage, during both 2014 and 2015.

Investors seeking alternative exposure to the large and mid-cap EMU equity sector may also consider ETFs from EasyETF, iShares, and Lyxor tracking the Euro Stoxx Index, which tracks around 300 of the largest EMU stocks.

Über den Autor

Kenneth Lamont  ist Fondsanalyst bei Morningstar.