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Low Volatility Doesn't Mean No Volatility (Part 1)

A look at how low-volatility ETFs weathered the recent storm.

Ben Johnson 28.05.2020

Low-volatility exchange-traded funds aim to give investors a smoother ride in stock markets. Being long stocks with less risk is a compelling proposition. So it's little surprise that these funds have been popular. Over the three years through February 2020, investors poured a combined $23.8 billion of their hard-earned savings into the eight U.S. large-cap ETFs listed in the U.S. that focus on dialing down volatility. This represented 125% organic growth over that three-year stretch. But the recent market meltdown has put these funds to the test, and some investors have gotten spooked. These funds saw $1.9 billion in net outflows in March.

Here, I'll look at how low-volatility ETFs have performed in the market downdraft, examine the differences among them, and share my thoughts on how investors might use them to manage risk.

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About Author

Ben Johnson  Ben Johnson, CFA is the Director of Passive Fund Research with Morningstar.

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