Was dem DAX fehlt, hat der britische FTSE im Überfluss: Rohstoffwerte wie Royal Dutch Shell und Rio Tinto. Aktienseitig ist der 100 Aktien umfassende Standardwerte-Index allerdings breit diversifiziert.

Hortense Bioy, CFA 25.07.2014

Rolle im Portfolio

The fund provides broad exposure to large capitalisation UK equities and can be used as a core holding. Investing in this well-diversified fund could appeal to those looking to build a UK-centric portfolio. However, investors should carefully examine the index's composition. With a 19-22% weighting, financials is the top sector represented in the index. Also, overall a quarter of the index is made up of resources companies like Royal Dutch Shell and Rio Tinto which are acutely exposed to the fortunes of the broader economy and their performance is often directly linked to international commodity prices.

It is important to bear in mind that the FTSE 100 index consists predominantly of global players with more than 70% of the revenues of FTSE 100 companies coming from outside the UK, while most of the top ten FTSE 100 companies report their results in US dollars rather than sterling. This fund can also serve as a tactical tool for those looking to place a bet on the near-to-medium-term prospects of the UK equity market under the belief that the benchmark is undervalued. However, investors outside of the UK should be wary of currency risk.

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Fundamentale Analyse

It took more than four years and countless central bank actions worldwide for UK large equities to return to pre-2008 crisis peak levels and regain momentum. Investor confidence in Europe as a whole began to recover in the summer of 2012 when European Central Bank president Mario Draghi promised to “do whatever it takes” to preserve the euro.

Since Draghi’s unequivocal pledge, the FTSE 100 TR index has risen almost 33% (to end June 2014). This has come against a backdrop of low interest rates, extremely loose global monetary policies, an improving outlook for the global economy and, in particular, much better-than-anticipated UK domestic growth. The blue chip rally in the UK, however, has not been as strong as in other parts of the developed world, with European and US large cap benchmarks rebounding by more than 50% over the same period. For example, FTSE 100 heavyweights like Rio Tinto, BHP Billiton and Anglo-American have been hit hard over the past 18 months by a slowdown in China, the world’s largest consumer of commodities, compounded by the subsequent fall in commodity prices. As a result, miners have cut costs and divested non-core assets in an attempt to turn around their balance sheets.

In the medium term, besides Chinese demand, UK global stock valuations will continue to be heavily influenced by monetary policies, both at home and abroad. In light of the UK recovery gathering pace – not to mention the rising risks of housing market overheating - Bank of England governor Mark Carney has suggested that UK interest rates could rise before year end. In any case, the exact timing of the first rate move since March 2009 will remain dependent on the progress of the economy, while subsequent increases will likely be small, gradual and towards a “new normal” peak below the pre-crisis era. Meanwhile, the Fed has started to exit its quantitative easing program through tapering, though assuring markets that effective tightening is still a long way off; and the European Central Bank has been drawn into more accommodative policies to address the risk of deflation and reflate domestic demand.

Monetary policy divergence has pushed the British pound up against nearly all UK trading partners. At end June 2014, sterling hit a six-year high against the dollar and has appreciated most in the past year against emerging market currencies affected by concerns about their economic and financial stability. While a stronger pound has helped ease imported inflationary pressures and the “cost of living squeeze”, it may also affect UK exporters, and especially those FTSE 100 companies that derive most of their revenues from abroad.

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The FTSE 100 is a free float market capitalisation weighted index that offers exposure to the 100 largest UK stocks. It represents about 85% of the market capitalisation of the London Stock Exchange and 7-8% of the world’s equity market capitalisation. The constituents of the index are determined quarterly. The index’s top sector exposures include financials (19-22%), oil & gas (16-19%), consumer goods (14-16%), healthcare (8-10%), and consumer services (8-11%). The index looks fairly well-balanced from a stock perspective. HSBC is the largest component of the FTSE 100 with a 6-9% weighting. The next largest stocks represented are BP, Shell, and GlaxoSmithKline, with a 4-7% weighting each.

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The fund uses full replication to track the performance of the FTSE 100 Gross Total Return index. The fund invests in all the constituents of the index with the same weightings stipulated by the index. The fund doesn't engage in securities lending. Dividends received from the underlying stocks are reinvested in the fund via the use of FTSE 100 futures until they are distributed twice a year. This dividend treatment helps to limit cash drag.

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The fund has a total expense ratio (TER) of 0.35%, which lies at the high end of the range for ETFs tracking the FTSE 100 index. Additional costs borne by ETF investors but not included in the TER include transaction and rebalancing costs. On top of holding costs, ETF investors will typically be charged trading costs, including bid-offer spreads and brokerage commissions when buy and sell orders are placed for ETF shares.

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There is no scarcity of alternatives for investors looking for exposure to UK large cap equities. Providers including db X-trackers, iShares, Lyxor, Source, ComStage, Amundi, Vanguard and UBS all offer their own FTSE 100 ETFs or MSCI UK ETFs, at total expense ratios ranging from 0.09% to 0.51%. The capitalising db X-trackers FTSE 100 ETF (DR) charges the lowest TER at 0.09%, while the distributing Vanguard FTSE 100 ETF carries a TER of 0.10%. However, the iShares FTSE 100 (Inc) remains the most popular and heavily-traded FTSE 100 ETF on the LSE, with a hefty TER of 0.40%.

Another alternative includes Ossiam’s FTSE 100 minimum variance ETF, which offers exposure to a lower volatility version of the FTSE 100. This fund carries a TER of 0.45%.

Those looking for exposure to the broad UK market in one fund can consider ETFs that track the well-known FTSE All-Share index. It represents at least 98% of the UK market capitalisation and is the aggregation of FTSE 100, FTSE 250 and FTSE Small Cap Indices. The SPDR FTSE UK All-Share ETF charges the lowest TER at 0.30%.

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Über den Autor

Hortense Bioy, CFA

Hortense Bioy, CFA  is director of passive fund research in Europe.