Investors in search of steady income through their investment portfolios consider adding various types of assets. Many of them often go for preferred shares ETFs.
Preferred shares ETFs are an odd asset class because they are not entirely bonds or equities but share similarities with both.
Preferred shares ETFs are considered as fixed-income investments, but they are also susceptible to equity-market risk that might worry some investors. There is a massive landscape of Canadian ETFs you can consider, and I will focus on the best preferred shares ETFs in Canada.
Hopefully, my guide on the five best preferred shares ETFs in Canada can help you better understand the asset class and whether you should consider adding it to your investment strategy.
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What is a Preferred Shares ETF?
Preferred shares ETFs are Exchange-Traded Funds that encapsulate collections of preferred shares. These stocks are a special type of stock that pays dividends but does not come with voting rights.
Preferred shares are essentially hybrid securities that pay dividends like equities. Canadian preferred shares are also eligible for dividend tax credit. Investors can trade preferred shares ETFs on the stock market. These ETFs are not as volatile as equities on the stock market. Still, they are subject to the movement of the market.
Investors who select preferred shares ETFs often consider the asset class as a fixed-income asset. However, the fourth quarter of 2018 saw the S&P/TSX preferred share total return index lose 10%. This was proof that preferred shares ETFs are subject to equity-market risks.
Preferred shares are also similar to bonds because they are sensitive to interest rates and have several classes or types. It means when a company issues a class of preferred shares, they can have an end date, a fixed or floating distribution rate, and other features similar to bonds.
Essentially, preferred shares are an asset class between stocks and bonds. You can use them to tweak a portfolio to replace some of the equity or corporate bond portion potentially. However, I would not recommend using them to substitute equities because preferred shares do not participate in the upside – a major no-go if you are an investor with a long-term investing horizon.
Top Preferred Shares ETFs in Canada
I may have my reservations about investing in preferred shares. However, I have listed five of the best preferred share ETFs in Canada that are currently trading on the TSX. I hope it can help you decide on which preferred shares ETF you should pick if you choose to invest in preferred shares.
1.BMO Laddered Preferred Share Index ETF
Dividend Yield: 5.98%
Assets Under Management: $2.02 billion
The BMO Laddered Preferred Share Index ETF has been designed to replicate, to the extent possible, the performance of the Solactive Laddered Canadian Preferred Share Index, net of expenses. The Solactive Laddered Canadian Preferred Share Index includes Canadian preferred shares that meet the listing, liquidity, size, and quality criteria.
The ETF is designed for investors looking to bolster the passive income in their portfolios. The Index uses a five-year laddered structure where annual buckets are equal-weighted while the securities within each bucket are market-capitalization-weighted.
The BMO Laddered Preferred Share Index ETF has several benefits that make it one of the best preferred shares ETFs in Canada. It is invested in a diversified portfolio of rate reset preferred shares.
The lower interest rate sensitivity compared to the full preferred shares market gives it more stability. Additionally, it is professionally managed by BMO Global Asset Management – an advantage over many other peers.
2.Horizons Active Preferred Share ETF
Dividend Yield: 5.36%
Assets Under Management: $1.21 billion
Horizons Active Preferred Share ETF has the investment objective of providing its investors with dividend income while preserving capital. It aims to achieve that goal by investing primarily in preferred shares of Canadian companies. It is an exchange-traded fund incorporated in Canada.
Horizons Active Preferred Share ETF may also invest in preferred shares of companies located in the US, the fixed income securities of Canada- and US-based issuers, including other income-generating assets.
It may also invest in Canadian equity securities and ETFs that issue index participation units. The ETF seeks, to the extent possible, to hedge its non-Canadian dollar currency exposure to the Canadian dollar at all times.
It is an actively managed ETF that does not seek to replicate the performance of any underlying reference benchmark and is designed to track the performance of the Canadian preferred share market. The ETF’s portfolio composition can drastically vary materially from that of the Index in both constituent issuers and weightings.
3.iShares S&P/TSX Canadian Preferred Share ETF
Dividend Yield: 5.34%
Assets Under Management: $1.21 billion
The iShares S&P/TSX Canadian Preferred Share ETF seeks to replicate, to the extent possible, the performance of the S&P/TSX Preferred Share Index, net of expenses. The underlying S&P/TSX Preferred Share Index consists of preferred stocks listed and traded in Canadian dollars on the TSX.
The preferred shares issued by a company have to meet its financing or capital requirements, including fixed-rate and floating preferred shares, cumulative and non-cumulative preferred shares, and preferred shares with a callable or conversion feature. The preferred shares must have a market capitalization of more than $100 million as of the monthly rebalancing reference date over the last ten trading days to be eligible for the Index.
The iShares S&P/TSX Canadian Preferred Share ETF is the oldest ETF in the category, and its track record indicates the ups and downs of this asset class. Investors can use this ETF to gain exposure to a diversified portfolio of Canadian preferred shares. They can also use it to diversify sources of income beyond GICs and government bonds.
4.Invesco Canadian Preferred Share Index ETF
Dividend Yield: 5.42%
Assets Under Management: $1.20 million
The Invesco Canadian Preferred Share Index ETF is an exchange-traded fund incorporated in Canada. The ETF seeks to replicate, to the extent possible, the performance of the NASDAQ Select Canadian Preferred Share Index, before fees and expenses. The ETF primarily invests in preferred shares issued in Canada.
The ETF is a variation of the indexing theme, and it is one of the six ETFs that invest primarily in Canadian preferred shares with at least a three-year history. Invesco Canadian Preferred Share Index ETF is the only one among them offering an above-average Morningstar rating for risk-adjusted historical returns.
It is a combination of the 100 highest-yielding and lowest-volatility dividend-paying preferred stocks in the stock market. The underlying NASDAQ Select Canadian Preferred Share Index is a modified market capitalization-weighted index.
Mainly consisting of financial institutions preferred shares and energy sector preferred stocks, it historically demonstrated a low correlation to investments in common equity and investment-grade fixed-income securities.
5.RBC Canadian Preferred Share ETF
Dividend Yield: 5.81%
Assets Under Management: $669 million
The RBC Canadian Preferred Share ETF aims to provide investors with exposure to the performance of a diversified portfolio of primarily Canadian preferred stocks. Ideally, its portfolio includes Canadian preferred shares that will provide investors with regular income with long-term capital growth potential.
The RBC Canadian Preferred Share ETF primarily invests in an actively managed portfolio of rate reset preferred shares issued by Canadian companies trading on the TSX. The ETF selects the preferred shares in its portfolio based on fundamental analysis, credit research, and interest rate sensitivity analysis.
The ETF may also hold preferred shares issued by Canadian companies that are not reset-preferred shares, fixed-income securities issued by Canadian companies or governments, dividend-paying common stock from Canadian issuers, and preferred shares from US issuers as well as other Canadian ETFs.
It can work well in the portfolio of investors who want to diversify their portfolio with preferred shares, require regular income, and can accept fluctuations in the value of their investments.
How to Buy Preferred Shares ETFs in Canada
There are several ways you can invest in preferred shares ETFs in Canada, but I personally use the discount broker Questrade.
Questrade also allows you to purchase ETFs for free on its platform. If you trade stocks, you can open an account at Questrade, and get $50 in free stock trades.
If you are interested in preferred stocks, you can consider the best preferred shares ETFs in Canada. Choosing a preferred shares ETF in Canada means you do not need to worry about researching and maintaining various preferred stocks yourself. The ETFs manage it all for you based on their specific goals.
I can see why investors are attracted to preferred shares. The ETFs offer tax-efficient dividends and relatively low volatility during stable interest-rate environments. Personally, I would prefer using ETFs over picking individual preferred shares if I was considering investing in preferred shares. I would go for either ZPR or CPD as my picks.