The Nationwide Risk-Based International Equity ETF (RBIN) tracks an index of large-cap U.S. equities outside of North America. RBIN follows the Rothschild & Co. Risk-Based International Index that assesses securities for risk and volatility, eliminating the riskiest 50 percent of the universe. The remaining securities are weighted by volatility and correlation, in an effort to make sure that every stock contributes the same amount of risk to the portfolio. There are about 200 stocks in RBIN’s portfolio.
Launched in 2017, RBIN is a latecomer to a crowded space of foreign large-cap equities. Nationwide is often the biggest investor in its own ETFs, a common strategy, especially for newer entrants, known as BYOA: Bring Your Own Assets. And while it’s not outrageously priced, there are plenty of cheaper funds out there.
Investors have plenty of alternatives for exposures to these markets, many with significantly lower fees, such as the Invesco RAFI Strategic Developed ex-U.S. ETF (ISDX), the Schwab Fundamental International Large Cap Equity Index ETF (FNDF), the FlexShares Developed Markets ex-US Quality Low Volatility Index Fund (QLVD), the Goldman Sachs ActiveBeta International Equity ETF (GSIE), or the JPMorgan Diversified Return International Equity ETF (JPIN).
Lastly, investors might want to compare returns with plain-vanilla ex-U.S. funds that charge a fraction of RBIN’s management fee, like the Vanguard FTSE All-World ex-U.S. ETF (VEU) or iShares Core MSCI EAFE ETF (IEFA). IEFA owns more than two thousand securities, and so is far less concentrated than RBIN, and provides much more liquidity. RBIN has limited performance history, but in the time it’s been on the market, it has sometimes lagged IEFA and other times come out ahead.