Thinking of investing in exchange-traded funds (ETFs)? Read the ETF Facts first!

Take the time to read the ETF Facts to find out more about the ETF before you invest.

Since December 2018, your dealer (the firm) is required to deliver the ETF Facts to you no later than midnight on the second business day following the purchase of ETF securities. You can also consult the ETF Facts on the website of the company offering the fund, or simply ask your adviser for a copy.

What is the ETF Facts?

The ETF Facts is a four-page document that summarizes key information about an ETF in a simple, accessible and easily comparable format. It is designed to help you make an informed decision about your investment by including information such as a fund’s investments, risk rating, past performance and the costs associated with owning it.

The ETF Facts are an opportunity to have a conversation with your registered investment adviser about your investments. You may want to discuss how a particular ETF would fit within your portfolio or how certain features of the ETF, such as its fees and expenses, compare to other ETFs.

What Information is in the ETF Facts?

Here are a few sections of the ETF Facts you should pay attention to:

Quick Facts:

Includes information such as the start date and size of the fund, as well as the ETF’s management expense ratio. The management expense ratio, or MER, is a combination of an ETF’s management fee and its operating expenses.

Trading Information:

Provides information about the stock exchange where the fund is traded, the ticker symbol used to identify it and the currency in which it is traded.

Pricing Information:

This section provides quick information about the price of the ETF units. The average bid-ask spread is the difference between the price that a buyer is willing to pay and the price that a seller is willing to accept.

What does the ETF invest in?

This section provides a snapshot of how the ETF’s investments are allocated. It may also detail the particular index it is attempting to replicate. You will be able to quickly see the fund’s current top ten investments as well as the investment mix of the ETF’s investment portfolio. This information can help give you a sense of how diversified the ETF is. Depending on the type of the fund, this breakdown can be by industry, asset class or geographic location.

Distributions:

If the ETF makes money, it may make payments to investors called “distributions.” The ETF Facts document will tell you how often distributions are made. Talk to your adviser to discuss how to manage any distributions you may receive (including interest, dividend or capital gains). Distributions are not guaranteed.

How risky is it?

All investments have a risk rating ranging from low to high. An ETF with a low risk rating can still lose money. ETFs do not provide any guarantees of future performance. As with any investment, you might not get back the money you invested. An ETF’s risk rating can change over time. It’s important to understand the risks and circumstances that could affect the ETF’s performance so that you can choose an ETF that is suitable for you. Additional information about the risk rating and risk factors is included in the ETF’s prospectus.

How has the ETF performed?

This section shows how the ETF’s units have performed in each of the past 10 years (or in each of the years that have elapsed since the ETF’s start date, if the fund is less than 10 years old).

Trading ETFs:

This section explains how ETFs are traded and includes information about pricing and orders. ETFs have two sets of prices: market price and net asset value (NAV). They buy and sell on exchanges at market prices that can change throughout the trading day. Market price can be affected by supply, demand and the value of ETF investment holdings. NAV is calculated after the close of each trading day and reflects the value of an ETF’s investments at that point in time.

Who is this ETF for?

This section explains what types of investors may be suited for the ETF. You and your adviser should consider its holdings, performance and risks to help determine if the fund is suitable for you.

How much does it cost?

This section shows a more detailed breakdown of the fees and expenses you would pay to buy, own and sell units of the ETF. For example, you may have to pay your brokerage firm a commission every time you buy or sell ETF units.

The ETF pays management fees and operating expenses. While you don’t pay these expenses directly, they affect you because they reduce the fund’s returns. 

If you don’t fully understand the ETF Facts, talk to your registered investment adviser. Make sure you understand the investment before committing to it.