ETF Tools Every Investor Needs

by on August 29, 2012 | Updated May 9, 2014

With more than 1,400 exchange-traded products now available, financial advisors and retail investors have at their fingertips an unprecedented array of tools for building long-term portfolios, establishing tactical tilts, and exploiting short-term imbalances between various asset classes. With that luxury of choice comes some potential challenges; there are now multiple options for many investment objectives–sometimes more than a dozen ETFs that seek to fulfill generally similar missions. offers a suite of world class analytical tools, built on a proprietary database of descriptive information, that allows investors to efficiently filter through the growing universe and find the funds that are right for their portfolios and their clients. Below, we highlight some of the best tools ETFdb has to offer: 

ETF Analyzer

This brand new tool allows for flexible comparison of groups of ETFs by dozens of different metrics, such as expenses, performance, volatility, and dividends. The ETF Analyzer is simple, yet extremely powerful: users first select a group of ETFs by identifying a sector, region, bond type, commodity type, or ETFdb Category, and then pick out the metrics that they wish to see for each of the selected ETF. For example, it’s very simple to see YTD returns and expenses for all gold ETFs, or 200-day volatility and dividend yield for all mid cap ETFs.

ETFdb Pro members can download the ETF Analyzer results to an Excel file [get full access with a free 7-day trial].

ETF Screener

The ETF Screener is one of the most comprehensive and useful tools for navigating through the growing universe of ETFs. Starting from the complete universe users can narrow down by selecting from several different “descriptive” data fields such as region, sector, bond type and duration, commodity family, size and style, investment discipline, and many more. The number of ETFs meeting the selected criteria updates automatically, so you’ll always know how many you’ve selected.

Once a set of ETFs is selected, the results include dozens of different data points including expenses, five different returns, distributions, technical indicators, and holdings data. ETFdb Pro members have the ability to download screener results to Excel (available with a free 7-day trial).

ETF Country Exposure Tool

This tool is extremely handy for those seeking exposure to international markets, allowing investors to identify the ETPs that maintain exposure to more than 70 different economies around the globe. This tool is easy-to-use: simply select a country from the world map (there’s also a list for reference) and see the ETFs that have the biggest portion of their portfolios in stocks of that country.

For example, this tool can show the ETFs with major exposure to Greece, Panama, or Luxembourg–and several other countries between Albania and Zambia.

ETFdb Categories

For quick reference, the ETFdb Categories make it easy to see a comprehensive list of ETFs that meet a given investment objective. Each of the 1,400+ ETPs is assigned to one and only one ETFdb Category, resulting in a collection of approximately 70 categories that include funds with generally similar investment objectives and risk factors.

ETFdb Categories cover all asset classes; examples include Large Cap Blend Equities, High Yield Bonds, Precious Metals, and Hedge Fund Replication. The ETFdb Category pages feature tabs that allow for quick comparison of all ETFs across various data points.

ETFdb Types

For even more granularity, the ETFdb Types pages allow investors to filter the universe by specific countries, sub-sectors, commodities, currencies, and various other metrics. Examples include lists of solar energy ETFs, Japanese bond ETFs, platinum ETFs, dividend ETFs, and ETFs available commission free on TD Ameritrade.

All ETFdb Types pages contain nine tabs full of information, all of which can be downloaded to Excel of CSV with an ETFdb Pro membership.

ETF Stock Exposure Tool

This resource is useful for identifying equity ETFs that have meaningful holdings in a particular stock, an exercise that can be valuable when seeking to evaluate risk exposures or overweighting an individual position. Both domestic and international stocks are included, with the tool showing all ETFs that include an individual company within its top ten positions.

For example, the ETF Stock Exposure Tool can highlight the ETFs that have major positions in Apple (there are about a dozen with 10% or more to the tech giant) or Samsung (these ETFs have been hammered this week).

ETFdb Realtime Ratings

The ETFdb Realtime Ratings, available on all Types and Category pages, provide a quick, easily understandable assessment of ETFs relative to their peer group on six different metrics: expenses, liquidity, performance, dividend yield, volatility, and concentration. The grades show how a particular fund compares to the other ETFs in its ETFdb Category; for example, which China ETF is the cheapest or most diversified, or which energy ETF has exhibited the lowest volatility and highest yield.

ETFdb Realtime Ratings are available with a free 7-day trial to ETFdb Pro.

ETF Head-to-Head Tool

As the name suggests, this tool allows for quick comparison of multiple ETFs in a side-by-side setting. The combinations here are extensive; users can see, for example:

Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.