Update: iShares Asia Pacific Dividend UCITS ETF

Dieser Aktien-ETF bildet die dividendenstärksten Titel der entwickelten Länder Asiens ab. Schwergewicht ist auf Länderebene Australien, branchenseitig sind Finanzaktien und Telekoms am stärksten vertreten.

Caroline Gutman 31.10.2014

Rolle im Portfolio

The iShares Asia Pacific Dividend UCITS ETF provides exposure to 30 of the highest dividend-paying stocks from several developed Asian markets, with a heavy tilt towards Australia. About one-quarter of the underlying index is made up of financials.

Because of its dividend-focused strategy, the fund would suit an investor looking for a regular income stream. The fund pays out dividends from the underlying stocks on a quarterly basis. This fund could be used as a complement to core exposure to the region, though there would be potential for overlap. Weighting by dividend yield rather than market capitalisation results in a tilt towards smaller and deeper value companies. Investors looking at this fund should therefore be aware of value traps. A value trap occurs when a company’s dividend yield is high only because its share price is low, reflecting the fact that the company may be in trouble. Also, while some companies may pay large dividends, the effects of capital appreciation/depreciation can dominate the positive income stream.

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Fundamentale Analyse

While many investors chase capital gains, historically much of the total return from equities has come in the form of dividends. Depending on the market in question, they have historically accounted for 40% to 60% of the returns from investing in stocks. A policy of regularly paying out earnings can discipline corporate management and reduce the chance of unprofitable acquisitions. Dividends also give investors a ‘bird in the hand,’ rather than just the promise of enhanced enterprise value at an unidentified point in the future. The dividend-focused strategy indeed results in a higher yield: 5.1% versus 2.5-3.9% for ETFs tracking the similar MSCI Pacific ex-Japan index.

Thanks to its vast supply of natural resources, Australia’s economy has consistently expanded, averaging 3.5% GDP growth per year for the last 20 years, and the Reserve Bank of Australia expects growth to reach 3% in 2014. While a mining boom had driven much of the growth in recent years, mining industry activity has since levelled off. Meanwhile, a surge in liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports has become one of the main drivers of GDP growth, which will continue to tie Australia’s economic trajectory to China. China has already become the second largest importer of Australia’s LNG, due to its growing demand for resources to aid China’s investment in national infrastructure.

While the Australian and New Zealand companies within the index represent parts of the economy outside the materials sector—such as financials, which makes up almost 40% of the Australian exposure—they will undoubtedly be affected by the state of the market for natural resources.

To the north, the economic outlook for Japan remains considerably uncertain. Abenomics, Prime Minister Abe’s unorthodox monetary policy since late 2012, has reined in deflation and reignited consumer confidence and spending. But there are fears the second consumption tax hike in 2015 could further hurt the economy’s nascent recovery, as the first tax hike in April caused a 6.5% GDP contraction – essentially reversing the Q1 GDP growth.

The DJ Asia/Pacific Select Dividend 30 Index has posted an annualised return in US dollars of 8.8% over the last five years, versus 15.7% for the S&P 500 and 6.9% for the MSCI Europe Index. The DJ Asia/Pacific Select Dividend 30 Index has had a standard deviation of 17.1%, versus 13.2 for the S&P 500 Index and 19.1% for the MSCI Europe Index.

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The DJ Asia Pacific Select Dividend 30 Index is comprised of 30 stocks across Australia, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand and Singapore. Stocks are weighted by dividend yield, calculated as their unadjusted indicated annual dividend (not including any special dividends) divided by their market price. The index methodology screens the universe in several ways. To be included, a stock must have paid dividends in each of the previous three years; last year’s dividend must be equal to or greater than its three-year average; its five-year average payout ratio must be less than 85%, or must be less than 1.5 times the payout ratio of the corresponding DJGI country index, whichever is smaller; and it must pass a screen for minimum trading volume. Once those screens are run, the top 30 stocks by dividend yield are selected. The index is formally reviewed on an annual basis. To limit turnover, existing names stay in the index until their yield rank falls to 60th or lower. No more than 15 companies can come from any one country, and individual security weights are capped at 15%. Geographically, there is a heavy tilt towards Australia, with a 50-55% weighting, followed by Hong Kong (15-18%), New Zealand (10-13%), Singapore (10-13%) and Japan (8-10%). Top sectors are financials (24-28%), telecommunications (20-24%), industrials (15-18%) and consumer services (19-21%). The index is heavily concentrated, with the top 10 names accounting for 40-45% of the total weighting. The top positions are Telecom Corp of New Zealand (6-8%), PCCW (5-7%) and Ausnet Services (4-6%).

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The fund uses physical replication to try to capture the performance of its benchmark, owning – to the extent possible and efficient – shares in the underlying constituents in the same weights as those of the index. The fund uses futures for cash equitisation purposes, which helps to limit tracking error. In the 12 months through September 2014, an average of 20.08% of the portfolio was out on loan, to a maximum of 31.26%, and in total the programme added 0.10% of net return to the fund. BlackRock, iShares’ parent company and lending agent, passes 62.5% of the gross securities lending revenue to the fund and keeps the remaining 37.5% for itself, out of which amount it will pay the associated costs of the activity. BlackRock has a 50% cap in place on the amount of assets that its iShares funds can lend out. To protect the fund from a borrower’s default, BlackRock takes collateral greater than the loan value. Collateral levels vary from 102.5% to 112% of the value of the securities on loan, depending on the assets provided by the borrower as collateral. Additional counterparty risk mitigation measures include borrower default indemnification. Specifically, BlackRock commits to replace the securities that a borrower fails to return, but it will not cover losses incurred on the reinvestment of cash collateral.

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The fund’s total expense ratio (TER) is 0.59%. Other costs potentially carried by the unitholder but not included in the total expense ratio include transaction costs on the infrequent occasions when the underlying holdings change, and bid-ask spreads and brokerage fees when buy and sell orders are placed for ETF shares. Income generated from securities lending helps recoup some of the total costs.

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To get exposure to high-yielding Asian equities, an alternative to this product is db x-trackers MSCI Asia ex-Japan High Dividend Yield Index ETF, which gives exposure to both developed and emerging markets within Asia.

Other alternatives for developed market exposure within the region, that do not target high dividend yields, include Amundi ETF MSCI Pacific ex-Japan, UBS-ETF MSCI Pacific (ex-Japan), and HSBC MSCI Pacific ex-Japan. Of these, the HSBC product charges the lowest fees, with a TER of 0.40%, although the UBS ETF, which has a TER of 0.45%, seems to track the MSCI Pacific ex-Japan more closely (purely measured in terms of tracking difference).

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Über den Autor

Caroline Gutman  ist Fondsanalystin bei Morningstar.