Update: ComStage MSCI World TRN UCITS ETF

Dieser ETF streut sehr breit über die globalen Aktienmärkte. In den vergangenen Jahren waren MSCI World ETFs von aktiven Fondsmanagern kaum zu schlagen. Das sieht 2015 allerdings anders aus. Anleger sollten die hohe USA- bzw. US-Dollarquote beachten. 

Caroline Gutman 22.05.2015

Rolle im Portfolio

The Comstage MSCI World TRN UCITS ETF provides exposure to many of the largest publicly-traded companies in the developed world. It is best used as a core building block for investors who want to gain developed equity exposure through one fund rather than build a geographically- and/or sector-diversified equity portfolio. Although the underlying MSCI World Index has a broad geographic scope, it is heavily concentrated in the US.

The MSCI World Index is made up of global companies. Still, investors seeking exposure to the global- rather than just developed- equity market should consider pairing this ETF with some form of emerging markets equity exposure which would provide portfolio diversification.

As this fund does not intend to make distributions, it may not suit an investor looking for regular income.

Fundamentale Analyse

Valuations around the world have improved significantly since the 2008 financial crisis. The US- by far the ETF’s largest country exposure- has experienced a steady economic recovery over the last few years. With the S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average reaching their all-time highs in Q1 2015, the financial market nosedive in 2008 seems like a distant memory.

The US is in the midst of its longest— and slowest— economic expansionary period since World War II. And the expansion doesn’t show signs of stopping in the short-term, with unemployment staying comfortably under the FOMC’s 6.5% target, and inflation remaining below the Fed’s 2% target.

By contrast, the Eurozone recovery, though improving, remains fragile, with inconsistent economic performance across the continent. Domestic demand is still constrained by lack of available credit and high unemployment. Nevertheless, the weak euro and the fall of commodity prices – particularly energy - has alleviated some fears about Europe’s economic prospects, providing support both to consumers and exporters.

In order to reflate the economy and address the rising risks of a deflationary spiral, the European Central Bank (ECB) embarked on full-fledged Quantitative Easing (QE) in January 2015. The ECB’s combined actions, namely QE, comprehensive liquidity provision and the commitment to keep interest rates at zero for a prolonged period, are primarily aimed at kick-starting bank lending to SMEs and boosting domestic demand.

Across the channel, the UK has experienced a firm recovery. Strong domestic demand has helped support the UK’s economic expansion while the Bank of England has retained an ultra-loose monetary policy stance. Interest rates have remained at a record low of 0.5% since March 2009, although financial markets are already positioned for an increase in rates in late 2015 or early 2016. The consensus is that the UK economy should continue to grow at a healthy pace.

Meanwhile, 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 Abe postponed the second consumption tax hike until October 2015 due to fears it might further hurt the economy’s nascent recovery, as the first tax hike in April 2014 pushed the country into recession.


The MSCI World Net Total Return Index is a free-float market capitalisation-weighted index covering 23 developed countries around the world. The index consists of about 1,600 large- and mid-cap stocks, and covers approximately 85% of the total free float of the component markets. The index is reviewed quarterly, with size cut-offs recalculated semi-annually. The universe is initially screened for liquidity, as measured by the value and frequency of trading. The median constituent has a market capitalisation of $8.7 billion. The index is heavily tilted towards the US, whose weighting of 52-56% is more than five times larger than the next highest representatives, Japan and the UK, with weights of 7-10% each. The eurozone countries make up 15-19% of the total weighting. On a sector basis, the index is broadly diversified. The top weight is financials, which makes up 18-22% of the total, followed by information technology, consumer discretionary and health care at 11-13% each. There is very little portfolio concentration, with generally no more than 10% of the index within its top 10 names. The top individual position is Apple, with a 1-3% weight, followed by Microsoft and General Electric (each less than 1%).


The fund uses synthetic replication to provide exposure to the underlying benchmark, entering an unfunded swap with parent company Commerzbank AG. The fund uses investors’ cash to buy a substitute basket (also referred to as the carrier basket by Comstage) of securities, the performance of which is exchanged for the performance of the index. The substitute basket is made up of European blue chip stocks (constituents of the DAX, EURO STOXX 50 or the STOXX Europe Large 200, except for Commerzbank shares). ComStage provides weekly disclosure on the substitute basket, which is identical for all swap-based ComStage ETFs. The swap is reset on a quarterly basis. The collateral is adjusted daily to a level of 105% of the swap exposure. ComStage does engage in securities lending within the fund. Under the terms of the swap, the counterparty agrees to provide the fund with exposure to the total return of the underlying index, net of any associated taxes, costs or fees. The return from the swap assumes that all dividends paid by the underlying stocks are reinvested in the index. This fund does not pay out any distributions.


The fund has a total expense ratio (TER) of 0.40%, which is at the high end of the range of funds tracking the MSCI World Index. The range for the tracking difference since 2011 suggests that annual holding costs may vary significantly from year to year. In addition, investors will typically be charged bid-ask spreads and brokerage fees when buy and sell orders are placed for ETF shares.


There are a number of ETF choices that provide broad exposure to global equities. Providers offering ETFs that track the MSCI World Index include UBS, Source, Lyxor, db x-trackers, HSBC, iShares and Amundi. The iShares Core MSCI World ETF charges the lowest fees, with a TER of 0.20%.

Über den Autor

Caroline Gutman  ist Fondsanalystin bei Morningstar.