Thus far, 2011 has been brisk with new exchange-traded fund (ETF) offerings.
Recently, the Vanguard Group launched the Vanguard Total International Stock Index Fund (VXUS). Like other Vanguard ETFs, VXUS is a separate share class of existing Vanguard mutual funds.
VXUS is linked to the MSCI All Country World ex-USA Investable Market Index, which covers 98% of the world's non-U.S. markets, including the European, Pacific, and emerging market regions, as well as Canada. It includes more than 6,000 issues encompassing stocks of large, mid and small cap companies in 44 countries.
At the end of 2010, VXUS had the following level of exposure to equities: 43.20% to Europe, 24.70% to emerging markets, 24.50% to Asia Pacific and 7.60% to North America.
"The Vanguard Total International Stock ETF is a new way to invest in an established fund that offers broad international diversification with an extremely modest price tag," said Gus Sauter, Vanguard's chief investment officer, in a press release. "It complements our Total Stock Market ETF and Total Bond Market ETF and enables advisors and individual investors to assemble a simple, balanced, and well-diversified portfolio using low-cost ETFs."
VXUS charges a lower annual expense ratio of 0.20% compared to 0.32% for the corresponding mutual fund share class (VGTSX).