German XENIX ETF Awards 2024 – the evening of the award winners at Börse Gettex in Munich

For the sixth time, the rating service provider XENIX has recognized the best quality exchange-traded funds (ETFs), the best newcomer ETFs and special services from ETF providers. The coveted trophies were presented to the winners at a ceremony in Munich.

“If you take a closer look, you will notice that there are sometimes considerable differences in the quality of ETFs,” says Dr. Markus Thomas, founder of the Berlin-based rating service provider XENIX. He and his team have been evaluating ETFs for many years as part of a qualitative analysis, which includes index calculation, tradability, transparency of the index trackers and their replication accuracy. Because one thing is clear: as interest in these products increases, it is more important than ever to assess ETFs in terms of their quality. “Ultimately, a smart selection of ETFs based on a qualitative rating can offer additional returns,” explains the expert.

This was the focus of the German XENIX ETF Awards ceremony in Munich on November 30, 2023. The evening, which was organized in cooperation with Börse gettex and the tax consulting service provider WTS, offered a successful mix of informative and exciting presentations that provided deep insights into the ETF industry, the festive presentation of the ETF Awards 2024 and the subsequent informal exchange between the guests.

Quality ETF Awards in six categories

The highlight of the evening was the announcement of the award winners in the three categories of quality ETFs, newcomer ETFs and the ETF special awards for special achievements. The quality awards were presented in the six ETF categories “German equities ESG”, “Global equities”, “German dividend equities”, “Global equities with ESG sustainability features” and “Corporate bonds in euros and US dollars” (each with good credit ratings). “The ETFs awarded here are currently the best index trackers in their peer group – according to the XENIX STARS quality rating,” explains Dr. Markus Thomas. The providers iShares and Vanguard each landed twice on the winners’ podium, Deka ETFs and Xtrackers once each.

In contrast, the ETF Newcomer award is based on how innovative an index concept or the associated ETF is. Here, BNP Paribas Easy was recognized for an “SRI corporate bond ETF”. The winners of an ETF Newcomer Award also included the “Amundi S&P SmallCap 600 ESG UCITS ETF” and the “Invesco FTSE All-World UCITS ETF”, which is available not only in an accumulating and a distributing version, but also in a currency-hedged and reinvesting version. “This is a real innovation. This makes this ETF a real challenger to the broad-based global equity ETFs already established on the market, which are so popular with German ETF savings plan investors,” says Dr. Thomas.

Awards for special achievements

The Special ETF Awards for 2024 were presented to five providers that set new standards in their field or stand out for their special achievements. As in the previous year, Deka ETFs again came out on top in the “Service and Reporting” category in 2024. “With its comprehensive and detailed reporting for really all types of investors, the ETF provider of the German savings banks offers enormous added value,” says Dr. Thomas, explaining this decision. Other award winners for 2024 included Fidelity as the best provider of “Dividend Factor ETFs USA”, the provider SPDR as the price leader for ETFs on the S&P 500 and the “L&G Gerd Kommer Multifactor Equity UCITS ETF” from LGIM as the best world equity ETF newcomer. Valour Inc. also received the special ETP award for its “Bitcoin Tracker ETP including CO2 compensation”.

“The ETF Awards can be an important point of reference when assessing individual ETFs, especially for private investors,” said Dr. Thomas. Dr. Robert Ertl, CEO of Bayerische Börse AG, also made it clear in his presentation that ETFs continue to be the focus of investors: “Overall, the share of ETFs in stock exchange turnover has risen in recent years – also due to the increasing popularity of ETF savings plans.” According to Dr. Ertl, the turnover share of ETFs on the German regional stock exchanges has now risen from 17% in 2021 to around 21%.

Tips on after-tax yields and the dividend factor for US equities

Tax expert Robert Welzel, Partner at WTS, emphasized in his keynote speech that private investors should analyse the performance of their accumulating ETFs for tax reasons in order to optimize the after-tax return. After the interest rate turnaround, German retail ETF investors with accumulating ETFs would be subject to taxable advance lump sums in the first week of January 2024. “Depending on the ETF category, up to 1.785% capital gains tax must then be paid to the tax office on the advance lump sums,” says Welzel.

The subsequent dividend talk with Tim Breitenbach from Fidelity provided “high-yield” insights. Breitbach explained that his company uses its own research to construct a passively managed ETF with around 125 “high-quality US dividend stocks” from around 1,000 US stocks, which pays out quarterly dividends and currently generates a dividend yield of around 2.6% per year.

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