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Ask Bender: Diversification of iShares ETFs vs. Vanguard ETFs

By Justin Bender · June 13, 2016 - 8 comments

Q:  “Why do some people still use XEF/XEC vs. VIU/VEE, since both VIU and VEE are more diversified?”As new ETFs are released, it’s natural for index investors to succumb to what I like to call “ETF envy”.  I often witness it when an ETF provider lowers their fees below that of their competitors’ – this is usually met with investor excitement a...

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Foreign Withholding Taxes in International Equity ETFs (Revisited)

By Justin Bender · June 2, 2016 - 2 comments

In August 2014, BlackRock Canada announced that they were changing the investment strategy of the iShares Core MSCI EAFE IMI Index ETF (XEF) in order to reduce the overall amount of foreign withholding tax levied on the fund.  XEF would no longer gain its international stock exposure by holding the iShares Core MSCI EAFE ETF (IEFA) (a US-listed ETF) – it would instead hold the underl...

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BXF tears a strip off competitors

By Justin Bender · February 24, 2016 - 4 comments

Last year, I calculated the after-tax performance of ten short-term bond ETFs in an attempt to find the most tax-efficient of the bunch. The results were not even close – the First Asset 1-5 Year Laddered Government Strip Bond Index ETF (BXF) beat all other funds by a landslide (for the 2014 comparison, please refer to my past blog post, BXF no longer a strip tease). This was no surp...

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Don’t discount ZDB just yet

By Justin Bender · February 22, 2016 - 2 comments

In February 2014, BMO released a more tax-efficient version of their flagship BMO Aggregate Bond Index ETF (ZAG). They called their new fund the BMO Discount Bond Index ETF (ZDB). The fund’s strategy was to buy Canadian government and corporate bonds that were trading at par or at a discount to their par value (for a more detailed discussion of ZAG vs. ZDB, please refer to Dan Bortolotti&...

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Should I Rebalance My Portfolio Now?

By Justin Bender · August 27, 2015 - 5 comments

Many investors consider the recent stock market pull-back to be a great buying opportunity, and are eager to rebalance (at least the ones that aren’t panicking and selling their stocks). But should they rebalance now, or wait a bit longer?To make this decision easier, I’ve created a downloadable rebalancing table that incorporates Larry Swedroe’s 5/25 rule, which is an excelle...

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