Monday, August 06, 2007

Vanguard Provides a New ETF That Tracks the MSCI EAFE Index

I have previously mentioned that the Morgan Stanley Capital International, Inc. Europe, Australasia Far East index (a.k.a., the MSCI EAFE index) is the "S&P 500" of foreign stocks. Until recently, the best ETF tracking the index was an iShares ETF (symbol: EFA). EFA is a core holding of my Hypothetical Model Long-Term Portfolio.

Accordingly to the iShares website, EFA currently has an expense ratio of about 0.35% and is the largest foreign stock ETF, with about $45 billion in net assets. Although 0.35% is a very low expense ratio, Vanguard has decided to undercut iShares with its own ETF tracking the same index. On July 26, 2007, the new Vanguard Europe Pacific ETF (symbol: VEA) began trading on the American stock exchange. VEA tracks the MSCI EAFE index and has an expense ratio capped at 0.15%.

Vanguard's new offering is welcome by investors and should sell quite well. I look favorably upon the ever-decreasing expense ratios of index-tracking ETFs.

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