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Intellidex 2019 reviews: 1nvest Top 40 ETF


Catch this insight by Intellidex on the South African equity market. This note is on the 1nvest Top 40 ETF, formerly the Stanlib Top 40 ETF. This is one of the family of ETFs covering the JSE Top 40. The fund has the second largest assets under management among its peers but it has the highest total expense ratio (TER). This ETF is ideal for investors with an appetite for risk.

Intellidex insight: Formerly Stanlib Top 40 ETF, the 1nvest ALSI 40 fund is one of the four in the family of JSE listed ETFs that track the FTSE/JSE Top 40 index. This index houses the 40 largest shares by market capitalisation, listed on the JSE, after adjusting for free-float – excluding locked-in shares such as those held by insiders, promoters and governments. While equities  are inherently riskier than other asset classes, especially in short periods, top 40 companies are usually blue chips with long trading history of good performance and can therefore typically weather business cycles. As such, it can be used as part of a core investment portfolio. What’s more, the fund has decent sectoral diversification, but the methodology gives more weight to companies with bigger market capitalisation which means performance of the overall fund is disproportionately influenced
by a few stocks. This reduces the diversification benefits that are usually synonymous with ETFs. That said, investing in the market through the 1nvest ALSI 40 fund is both cost and tax efficient. The ETF is eligible for the tax-free investment accounts and only rebalances four times a year to reflect changes in the top 40.

The fund has the second largest assets under management among its peers but it has the highest total expense ratio (TER). While its mandate is to track the top 40 companies, the fund holds a small portion in cash and listed derivatives to effect efficient portfolio management, specifically when liquidity on the JSE is poor.

Fund description:The 1nvest ALSI 40 fund tracks the FTSE/JSE Top 40 and gives investors exposure to the price performance of the FTSE/JSE Top 40 index and pays out, on a quarterly basis, all dividends received, net of costs. Constituent companies are weighted according to market value, which means the price movement of a larger constituent company will have a larger effect on the price of the index than that of a smaller company. The market value of constituent companies is free-float adjusted: it excludes locked-in shares (such as those held by holding companies, founders and governments) and cross-holdings (where a listed company, such as Remgro, Reinet or PSG, owns a chunk of another listed company).

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1nvest Top 40 ETF


Top holdings: The top 10 constituents comprise 63.30% of the fund. Naspers has a disproportionately higher weighting in the fund.

1nvest Top 40 top 10 holdings

Suitability: This ETF is ideal for investors with an appetite for risk and seeking exposure to the most liquid blue-chip companies on the JSE, some with international operations, which enhances risk diversification.

Equity investments tend to exhibit higher short-term volatility than other asset classes, so a longer investment horizon gives a portfolio time for returns to accumulate ahead of volatility.

Historical performance:The ETF’s returns in the six months to end-November were just above water. While the moderate time-horizon returns (3- to 5-years) returns saw relatively meagre growth, it was no less than 4.7%. A similar trend was observed among the other Top 40 ETFs, with Ashburton’s Top 40 outperforming with 13.86% returns over a 1-year horizon. 

1nvest Top 40 Historical performance


Fundamentals:Equities are driven by economic activity and, over long periods, have proven their ability to provide investors with growth ahead of other investment classes. SA’s economy has performed poorly recently and the road ahead for economic growth looks bumpy. We don’t see the economy escaping stagnancy in the near term if the political economy does
not improve. 

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1nvest Top 40 ETF


However, 1nvest ALSI 40 ETF has significant foreign exposure with more than 60% of its earnings generated outside of SA. Internationally, geopolitics has improved with the US and China agreeing on a “phase one” trade deal. Additionally, the accommodative global financial sector should further support the growth impetus.

Fund statistics:

1nvest Top 40 Fund Statistics

Source: INET and June 2019 fact sheets

Alternatives: Ashburton (TER 0.14%), Sygnia (TER of 0.16%), and Satrix Top 40 with the smallest TER of 0.10%.

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1nvest Top 40 ETF Fact Sheet

1nvest top 40 fact sheet header


Background: Exchange-traded funds (ETFs)

Exchange-traded funds (ETFs) are passively managed investment funds that track the performance of a basket of pre-determined assets. They are traded the same way as shares and the main difference is that whereas one share gives exposure to one company, an ETF gives exposure to numerous companies in a single transaction. ETFs can be traded through your broker in the same way as shares, say, on the Easy Equities platform. In addition, they qualify for the tax-free savings account, where both capital and income gains accumulate tax free.

Benefits of ETFs

  • Gain instant exposure to various underlying shares or bonds in one transaction
  • They diversify risk because a single ETF holds various shares
  • They are cost-effective
  • They are liquid – it is usually easy to find a buyer or seller and they trade just like shares
  • High transparency through daily published index constituents


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