In our previous post, we saw that even though there was a cost associated to an investment in etf, this cost is often quite reasonable. We also stated that etf had limitations especially in the case of emerging (or frontier) markets such as Vietnam.
One of the biggest limitations of etf in the case of Vietnam is that it is simply impossible to find an etf 100% focused on Vietnam. But that’s not all. The only etfs that can provide you (little – usually no more than 10% of the etf is invested in Vietnam) exposure to Vietnam focus only on the Vietnamese stocks with the largest market capitalization. However, there is little doubt that (and not necessarily only in Vietnam) higher potential could be fine in stocks of smaller firms, which are totally avoided by etfs due to their structures. In short, one of the main advantages of etf (which is that you do not to have to worry to select your stocks) can become its biggest disadvantage (missing the right stocks with the biggest potential returns).
In other words, the problems with etfs do not come from their costs but they come from the way etfs are structured.
Finally, and this is maybe the most important part here, if you get a chance to look at the past performances of these etfs you will notice how poor they have been compared to our clients’ performances or even compared to the main Vietnamese stock market indexes.