iShares XAW ETF Review 2022: Diversify Globally

Looking to invest globally outside of Canada?

One of the easiest ways to do so is by using an international equity ETF.

In this iShares XAW ETF review, let’s go over if this global equity investment vehicle is right for you.

Our Verdict
IShares XAW ETF Review 2021
9/10Our Score

iShares XAW ETF

All-Equity Exchange-Traded Fund

BlackRock iShares XAW is a 100% equity all-in-one ETF portfolio.

Pros
  • Is easy to use and purchase
  • Easy global diversification
  • Is highly liquid
Cons
  • You may have to hold your entire holding if your risk tolerance changes.

What Is BlackRock iShares XAW ETF?

iShares XAW ETF aims to have 100% exposure to equity securities by replicating the MSCI ACWI ex Canada IMI Index’s performance.

XAW invests in almost every other developed market other than Canada.

XAW.TO is currently trading at close to $29.94.

XAW Key Facts

As of June 30, 2022:

  • Ticker Symbol: XAW.TO
  • Exchange: Toronto Stock Exchange
  • Assets Under Management: $1.6 Billion
  • MER: 0.22%
  • 12-Month Trailing Yield: 2.35%
  • Currency Traded: CAD
  • Number of Underlying Stocks: 9431 (as of July 13, 2022)
  • Registered Accounts Availability: Yes

iShares XAW ETF MER and Fees

Its total assets under management stand at $1.6 billion as of June 30, 2022.

iShares XAW ETF boasts a Management Expense Ratio (MER) of 0.22%. Global equity ETFs generally have higher MERs. XAW MER is in line with other comparable investments.

iShares XAW ETF Dividend Yield

iShares XAW’s dividend yield as of July 13, 2022:

  • 12-month trailing yield: 2.35%
  • Distribution yield: 1.91%
  • Dividend schedule: Semi-annual

iShares XAW ETF Performance and Returns

iShares XAW ETF was launched on February 10, 2015. Here are the hypothetical returns of $10,000 invested since inception:

As of June 30, 2022:

 1y3y5y10yIncept.
Average Annual Return (%)-11.625.606.547.23
Benchmark (%) -13.295.476.567.20
Source: Blackrock.com

Go to the Blackrock website for real-time performance numbers of XAW.

What Does BlackRock iShares XAW Invest In?

iShares XAW is a medium-risk ETF that you can consider adding to your investment portfolio.

It invests in a basket of ETFs managed by BlackRock Canada that, in turn, invests entirely in equity securities diversified worldwide.

By investing primarily in six ETFs, iShares XAW ETF provides investors with low-cost exposure to thousands of individual international stocks. XAW does not include any Canadian stocks. 

It has $1.60 billion in total assets under management as of June 30, 2022, and here is the ETFs it is invested in:

TickerNameSectorWeight (%)
IVVISHARES CORE S&P 500 ETFFinancials53.37
XEFISHARES MSCI EAFE IMI INDEXFinancials25.98
IEMGISHARES CORE MSCI EMERGING MARKETSFinancials11.57
IJHISHARES CORE S&P MID-CAP ETFFinancials3.71
ITOTISHARES CORE S&P TOTAL U.S. STOCKFinancials2.92
IJRISHARES CORE S&P SMALL-CAP ETFHealth Care2.32

iShares XAW ETF Asset Allocation

This section of my reviews typically discusses the asset allocation split between fixed-income and equity securities for the ETF.

iShares XAW is an all-equity ETF. This means it does not allocate funds to bonds or fixed-income securities.

As of July 13, 2022, iShares XAW ETF has allocated 99.39% of its funds to equity securities. It holds the remaining assets in cash.

Asset ClassNet (%)
Canadian Equity0.00
U.S. Equity61.41
International Equity37.98
Fixed Income0.00
Other0.04
Cash0.57
Source: Morningstar.com

iShares XAW Region Exposure

I will show you its exposure breakdowns to equity securities based on geography as of July 13, 2022.

iShares XAW ETF is diversified across several countries besides Canada. Although it primarily focuses on the U.S. equity security market, the remaining exposure is divided among Japan, China, the U.K., China, France, Switzerland, Australia, Germany, Taiwan, India and South Korea.

TypeFund (%)
United States61.77
Japan6.19
United Kingdom4.16
China3.66
France2.61
Switzerland2.53
Australia2.14
Germany1.85
Taiwan1.76
India1.68
Korea (South)1.38
Cash and/or Derivatives0.54
Other9.72
Source: Blackrock.com

iShares XAW ETF Top Holdings

Shown below is a breakdown of its underlying holdings for the top ten securities as of July 14, 2022:

TickerNameWeight (%)
AAPLAPPLE INC3.97
MSFTMICROSOFT CORP3.31
AMZNAMAZON COM INC1.68
GOOGLALPHABET INC CLASS A1.16
GOOGALPHABET INC CLASS C1.07
TSLATESLA INC1.04
BRKBBERKSHIRE HATHAWAY INC CLASS B0.86
UNHUNITEDHEALTH GROUP INC0.82
JNJJOHNSON & JOHNSON0.80
NVDANVIDIA CORP0.67
Source: Blackrock.com

iShares XAW ETF Sector Weighting

Here is a breakdown of iShares XAW ETF sector weightings as of July 13, 2022:

TypeFund (%)
Information Technology20.12
Financials13.58
Health Care13.00
Consumer Discretionary11.55
Industrials10.33
Consumer Staples7.59
Communication7.50
Materials4.78
Energy4.19
Real Estate3.59
Utilities3.20
Cash and/or Derivatives0.54
Other0.03
Source: Blackrock.com

iShares XAW Risk Indicator

XAW is a low-to-medium risk:

Source: Blackrock.com

iShares XAW ETF vs. Other ETFs

iShares XAW ETF vs. iShares XEQT ETF

iShares XEQT is an all-in-one ETF portfolio offered by BlackRock iShares. It consists of several BlackRock ETFs that focus on equities. The main difference is that iShares XEQT also invests in Canadian stocks, and reblances it’s weighting automatically.

iShares XEQT ETF can be a viable alternative if you also want exposure to Canadian stocks.

You can read my full iShares XEQT review here to find out more.

iShares XAW ETF vs. Vanguard VGRO

VGRO is Vanguard’s Growth ETF portfolio. It consists of several ETFs offered by Vanguard.

There are two primary differences between iShares XAW ETF and VGRO. The first is that VGRO offers a more conservative option, as it has an 80/20 split between equity and fixed-income securities.

The second difference is that it also provides you with exposure to Canadian securities.

You can read my full Vanguard VGRO review here to find out more.

How to Buy BlackRock iShares XAW ETF in Canada

The cheapest way to buy ETFs is from discount brokers. My top choices in Canada are:

Readers Choice
Qtrade
Qtrade
  • 105 commission-free ETFs to buy and sell
  • Excellent customer service
  • Top-notch market research tools
  • Easy-to-use and stable platform 
Low Fees
Wealthsimple Trade
Wealthsimple Trade
  • Stock and ETF buys and sells have $0 trading fees
  • Desktop and mobile trading
  • Reputable fintech company
  • Fractional shares available
Well-Rounded
Questrade
Questrade
  • ETF buys have $0 trading fees
  • Excellent market research tools
  • Most types of registered accounts available

To learn more, check out my full breakdown of the best trading platforms in Canada.

Is iShares XAW ETF a Good Investment for You?

iShares XAW ETF is excellent if you are looking for global exposure outside of Canada, with a heavy US emphasis.

It’s a great standalone ETF if you’re looking for equity exposure, or you can also combine it with a bond ETF.

Take a look at other iShares ETFs here if you’re still unsure what to pick.

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Author Bio - Christopher Liew is a CFA Charterholder with 11 years of finance experience and the creator of Wealthawesome.com. Read about how he quit his 6-figure salary career to travel the world here.

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