Exchange Traded Fund vs Unit Trust

Nowadays, local investors can have the new option to invest Exchange Traded Fund (ETF). If not mistaken, FBM30etf was the first ETF, which was introduced by AmInvestment Bank Group in year 2007.


Basically, ETF is quite similar to open-ended unit trusts. It represents a basket of stocks which is designed to track the performance of the indices. It’s traded like a share and is listed on Bursa Malaysia, so for those who have a CDS account then they can buy or sell ETF at any time during trading hours.

Moreover, a unit trust fund may charge up to 1-2% per year on management fee, which is much higher than the 0.5% charged by the ETF. The reason is because the ETF usually has lower expense ratio since it’s passively managed. But, investors do not get the benefit of fund manager’s stock picking.

Besides that, it offers investors the benefits of diversification. This is because the investor can buy the ETF to gain exposure to the 30 largest companies by market capitalization. In the other words, they no need to fork out a lump sum of money to buy each and every one of the 30 stocks.

Also, the price of ETF is determined by demand and supply. So, the price can be traded either below or above its NAV. In this case, sometimes you can buy at a discounted rate.

Unlike unit trust, ETF is much easier to buy and sell as it’s traded real-time. Generally, dividend is also distributed by ETF on a quarterly or half yearly basis.

3 thoughts on “Exchange Traded Fund vs Unit Trust”

  1. @ahsiang: It tracks the KLCI benchmark. It follows the movement of 30 of the largest companies by market capitalisation listed on Bursa Malaysia.
    @daphne: ETF is not a stock but it’s close-ended fund that passively managed. It follow the index performance

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