Exchange-traded Funds (EFTs): Definition and reason to invest in them

ETFs are widely used by investors to diversify their portfolios. You might want to investigate the risk/reward trade-offs if you understand them.

An exchange-traded fund (ETF) is a pool of assets whose shares are exchanged on a stock exchange. They combine the qualities of mutual funds, stocks, and bonds, as well as their potential benefits. ETF shares, like individual stocks, are traded at different values throughout the day depending on supply and demand. Like mutual fund shares, ETF shares represent a portion of ownership in a professionally managed portfolio.

What is EFT?

A pooled investment security called an exchange-traded fund (ETF) works similarly to a mutual fund. ETFs often track a specific index, sector, commodity, or asset. They can, however, be purchased and sold on a stock market just like any other stock, unlike mutual funds. An ETF can track anything from the price of a single commodity to a huge and varied group of securities. ETFs can also be created to implement specific investment strategies.

ETFs track the appropriate index and duplicate its returns, whereas mutual funds strive to produce alpha by beating a market benchmark. You’ll need a stock broker’sDemat and trading account to invest in ETFs.

Types of EFTs

Index-Based ETFs

The majority of ETFs on the market are index-based ETFs. These ETFs attempt to track a securities index, such as the S&amp 500 stock index, by investing primarily in the index’s component stocks. The SPDR, for example, invests in most or all of the equity stocks included in the S&P 500 stock index. Some ETFs, although not all, may publish their holdings daily on their websites.

Actively Managed ETFs

ETFs that are actively managed are not based on an index. Instead, they invest in stocks, bonds, and other assets to attain a stated investment goal. Unlike an index-based ETF, an actively managed ETF’s adviser can regularly purchase and sell elements in the portfolio without regard for index conformance.

Why invest in EFTs?

Unsystematic Risks

There are two types of risks that mutual funds face: systematic and unsystematic risks. Because equities are such a volatile asset type, systemic risk is inescapable. Market risks affect both ETFs and active management products. Unsystematic risk is the risk that is unique to a company or industry.

Although mutual funds try to mitigate unsystematic risk by diversifying their portfolio across equities and sectors, there are still some unsystematic hazards because actively managed funds are over on specific stocks and sectors compared to the index.

Low Costs

ETF fee ratios are substantially lower than mutual fund expense ratios. ETF fee ratios can be as low as 0.25 percent compared to mutual fund expense ratios, typically ranging from 1.5 percent to 2.25 percent. Unless mutual funds generate significant alpha over time, they may not be able to outperform ETF returns in the long run.


When compared to actively managed funds, ETFs make investing easier. You don’t need to look at prior performance or comprehend the fund manager’s investment style and how the funds have performed in different market conditions—the majority of ETFs track large-cap indices such as the Nifty, Sensex, BSE, etc. Choose an index and invest in a low-cost ETF that tracks that index, and you’re done.


You should read both the short and full prospectuses before investing in an ETF since they contain detailed information on the ETF’s investment objective, principal investment strategies, risks, fees, and historical performance. Prospectuses are also available through your broker or from the financial institutions that sponsor a certain ETF’s website.

Don’t invest in something you don’t understand. You should reconsider investing if you can’t communicate the potential in a few words and in a way that anyone can grasp.

Finally, you might want to consider consulting an investment specialist. If you do, make sure you deal with someone familiar with your investment goals and risk tolerance. Your financial advisor should be familiar with sophisticated products and be able to explain whether or not they are appropriate for your goals.

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