3 Simple Steps To Invest In Your First ETF

This article is produced in partnership with FSMOne.com.

So you have heard about the wonderful advantages of investing in Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs). ETFs provide us a  low-cost and simple way to create a diversified investment portfolio. Yet, with thousands of ETFs to choose from, how do we go about selecting the right ETF?

Here are three simple steps in helping you find the perfect ETF.

Step One: The Big Picture

Firstly, you must have an idea of what underlying asset are you interested to invest in? As an ETF is a fund, this means that it can invest in multiple types of securities. For example, you can choose between investing in ETFs that hold equity, fixed income or even gaining exposure into a niche sector. For example, there is an ETF, named as The Obesity ETF (SLIM), that focused on investing in companies that are fighting the obesity epidemic. Thus, you can use ETFs to target not just a specific market but also trends you are seeing in the economy.

A great way to narrow down your screen is by going through the FSMOne ETF Focus List.

Source: FSMOne.com

FSMOne ETF Focus List is a great starting point for investors to start investing in ETFs. The list has already screened out and highlighted some of the more interesting ETFs for us to research on.

By looking through the categories you are interested in, you will be able to see the suggested  ETFs that can be considered for investment.

Step Two: Research On What You Are Buying

By clicking on the ETF, we can find out more information such as the following.

Top Holdings

As ETF is just a fund investing in a myriad of securities, we have to find out what are the actual underlying assets within the ETF. FSMOne.com would show the top 25 holdings of each ETF at the factsheet page.


By going through this list, you will get a sense of what are the companies or bonds this ETF is investing in. If you are uncomfortable with the underlying securities that the ETF is investing in, maybe this ETF is not suitable for you.

Size of  ETFs (AUM)

One of the first things to take note of an ETF is the liquidity and strength of the fund.

Source: FSMOne.com

A criteria to check should be the Assets Under Management (AUM) of the fund. You can find that information easily on the top summary section of the ETF factsheet. An ETF with a sizeable AUM would imply that there is ample liquidity for us to invest in it.

Understanding Tracking Error

Although an ETF that we invest in might be tracking the performance of an index, that does not mean it will give us the return exactly how the index behaves. Given that running a fund would involve  expenses, the returns that we are getting from an ETF tends to be slightly lower than what the index is showing. This difference is known as the tracking error.

For example, if an ETF has an expense ratio of about 0.1% per year, it might produce a return about 0.1% from what the index reflects. This means that the ETF would have a tracking error of about 0.1%. As a general rule of thumb, we would like a smaller tracking error from an ETF.

Understanding The Cost Structure

Next is finding out the cost structure of the ETF and how much it would cost you yearly to invest in them. All ETFs would have a yearly expense charged to us when we are invested in them. We can find out this figure by looking at the “expense ratio” of an ETF.

Source: FSMOne.com

The information is readily available by looking at the “Investment Information” section of the factsheet. In this example, an expense ratio of 0.14% will be deducted from our investment every year to maintain the ETF. This means that for every $1,000 invested in the ETF, $1.40 of fees will be deducted from the fund every year. That is a very reasonable amount given that most mutual funds are typically charging annual fees of around 1.0% of our investment.

Adding Some Favour To Your Investment

Apart from selecting ETFs that focuses on specific market or asset classes like equities or bonds, there are niche ETFs that allow us to gain exposure into a particular sector like the Chinese Technology sector or the REITs sector.

By going through the “Tactical Plays” segment of FSMOne’s ETF Focus List, we can select some of these ETFs to help diversify our portfolio.

Step Three: Monitor and Invest

Create Your Watchlist

Now that we have done our research and found the ETFs that we are interested to invest in, it is time to start creating our watchlist. We can easily add the ETFs we liked into our watchlist by clicking on the “Add To Watchlist” function.

Source: FSMOne.com

By grouping all the ETFs that I am interested in, I would be able to monitor all of them in a quick and easy manner.

Source: FSMOne.com

I would also be able to add price alerts on these ETFs, so that the system would alert me through email or an app notifications when the ETFs have reached my desired price for when I would like to buy or sell.

Source: FSMOne.com

In this way, I can continue with my daily routines and do not need to check the prices on a daily basis when I do not have the time.

Time To Pull The Trigger and Invest

Did the system just send you a price alert notification?

Finally! It is time to buy your first ETF. To find out the actual amount you would need when investing in a particular ETF, you can easily calculate the amount within FSMOne.com.

When we are investing in an ETF, we will have to pay for the  processing fees in terms of brokerage, stamp duty and other stock exchanges’ related charges (if applicable). A simple way to calculate that is to use the ETF Calculator function within FSMOne here.

Source: FSMOne.com

The calculator will allow you to calculate the transaction cost you would incur when investing in that particular ETF. Today, FSMOne.com is one of the lowest  brokerages in town with a processing fee of just 0.08% of the invested amount subject to a minimum of $10. More importantly, unlike most brokerages, you will not be charged any custodian fee for holding on to the ETFs or stocks within the portfolio.

You can easily create your own watchlist and invest in ETFs through a FSMOne account.

Source: FSMOne Pricing Website (https://secure.fundsupermart.com/fsm/new-to-fsm/pricing-structure)

You can click here to open an account for free with FSMOne.com now and start diversifying your investment.

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