VFV Review (2021): Vanguard S&P500 ETF For Canadians

If you’re looking to branch out of investing in just Canadian stocks, the Vanguard S&P 500 ETF (VFV) could be the right solution for you.

Passive investing has taken the world by storm. With $26.1 billion of assets under management (AUM), Vanguard Canada is one of the pioneers of ETF investing in Canada.

Vanguard VFV is one of the most popular ETFs in Canada. With this VFV ETF review, let’s take a close look and see why so many investors have chosen this product.

Warren Buffett has stated that after his death, he plans on investing most of his assets into index funds that track the S&P 500. 

Our Verdict
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Vanguard VFV EF

S&P500 ETF for Canadians

Vanguard VFV is an ETF for Canadians that tracks the S&P 500 index.


  • Low cost
  • Tracks S&P 500 closely
  • Simple and effective


  • Could be overly tech sector weighted

What is Vanguard VFV ETF?

VFV is a low-cost index fund that is offered by Vanguard Canada since November 2, 2012. VFV is one of Vanguard’s most popular funds, with $2.245 billion in total value as of March 31, 2020

The ticker is displayed as TSE: VFV if you’re searching for the VFV stock price. 

What does Vanguard VFV Invest in?

VFV tracks as closely as possible the S&P 500, which is a broad U.S equity index. The S&P 500 is a market-cap weighted index of the 500 largest publicly-traded companies in America. 

The S&P 500 is widely regarded as the best measure for how large-cap U.S equities are performing.

VFV invests in stocks of U.S equities and should track the S&P 500 very closely, net of any fees and expenses.

VFV Vanguard Sector Weighting

The great thing about the U.S stock market is the diversity of the companies. As you can see from the sector weightings below, you get a nice weighted mix from Information Technology down to Consumer Staples. 

Contrast this with the Canadian stock market, which is heavily weighted in only three main sectors: Energy, Real Estate, and Mining

Vanguard VFV MER

The VFV Management Expense Ratio (MER) is very low, at 0.08%

Compare this with extremely high mutual fund fees that can average higher than 2%, and you can see why Canadians are flooding into ETFs in large numbers. 

Vanguard VFV Dividend

As of Feb 29, 2019:

  • 12-Month Trailing Yield: 1.64%
  • Distribution Yield: 1.56%
  • VFV Dividend schedule: Quarterly

VFV Performance

No surprises here, VFV tracks the benchmark S&P 500 return very closely. Since the inception of the fund, VFV has performed slightly higher than the benchmark return:

VFV Holdings

The top 10 holdings of VFV match up well with the sector weightings above. There is a nice diverse range of companies from big tech names, banking and finance, and consumer goods. 

Vanguard vs Other Funds


Many people get confused by VOO vs VFV. 

VOO is simply the S&P 500 index fund offered by the main Vanguard U.S. It is not offered by Vanguard Canada, and should not be purchased by Canadian investors. 

If you want to passively track the S&P 500 index, use VFV and not VOO.


VSP is the Canadian dollar hedged version of the VFV. If you want your investment to be hedged against the CAD/USD exchange rates, VSP might be a good choice for you.


IVV is iShares version of an S&P 500 index fund that is available to Canadians, but only in US dollars. It’s also a fantastic option, with an even lower MER of 0.04%, and should have very similar performance with VFV. But you’ll have to be careful of the conversion fees, and for this reason I would recommend VFV over IVV, unless you’re willing to do Norbert’s Gambit to save on FX fees.


iShares XUU vs VFV is like comparing apples to oranges because they don’t track the same benchmark. 

XUU tracks the U.S total market index, including small and mid-cap stocks, so it isn’t a good comparison to VFV which only tracks large-cap. 


Vanguard’s VUN also tracks the U.S total market index, including small and mid-cap stocks. VFV only tracks large-cap. 

You Should Buy Vanguard VFV if:

  • You want a low-fee passive investing solution that tracks the U.S large-cap stock market
  • You understand the risks involved with purchasing a 100% equity fund and are using it in combination with your overall investment strategy.
  • You understand that if you’re using it in combination with other fixed-income funds, you should rebalance your asset-mix at set time intervals.


VFV ETF is a simple and effective fund from Vanguard that does as advertised: it tracks the S&P 500. It is an effective option for passive investors. 

I’m a big fan of VFV, because I feel that American companies are more diverse and international than Canadian ones. 

I hope you’ve learned something from this VFV ETF review. Let me know in the comments below if you’ll give it a try!

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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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26 thoughts on “VFV Review (2021): Vanguard S&P500 ETF For Canadians”

  1. Hi Christopher,

    Great article. Concise and to the point!

    Have a question for you, I have around $15k in RRSP to be invested. Was looking at 80/20 ratio for VFV-VGRO. Or maybe XUS-XGRO. Not sure between Vanguard and iShare.

    Additionally, I also want to transfer $10k from TD mutual funds to invest in ETF. Can I just invest in VFV/VGRO to keep it simple. I understand there is foreign withholding tax but read some articles that it does not matter for small investments?

    I also plan to invest around $1k every month in non-reg account. Again will VFV/VGRO type of investment work?

    I plan to just invest for now and maybe withdraw later to buy a house (first time home buyer)

    Please provide your comments and advise. I will surely come back to your site to read on more articles. They look great for a investor like me with limited financial knowledge.

    Keep up the great work!


    • Hi Rahul,

      Thanks for your reply. Have you maxed out your TFSA? I believe that’s an important piece of the puzzle that you haven’t mentioned yet. If you haven’t, make sure to max it out before investing in a non-reg account.

      If you need the money for a house in the near future, I actually wouldn’t put so much into equities, since there is a higher risk of the assets dropping. A High-Interest Savings Account or more of a bond allocation would be wiser.

      Disclaimer: I am not a licensed financial advisor and the previous answer is my opinion only. Please see my disclosure for more details.


    • Hi Christopher, great website, just came across your blog.

      I am wondering if you would know the difference in outperformance of vfv and voo since 2012. The difference is vfv has outperformed voo by 75% during this time

      But when you look at currency conversion, the currency has only gained by about 25% (1.00 to 0.78 cad). Why such a massive difference in performance ?

  2. Hi Christopher

    Great article! Very clear and very concise as to how VFV is different from VOO.
    I am a Canadian investor looking to invest mainly in US companies.
    I already bought some shares of VOO and I was planning on acquiring VFV in Canadian dollars just for diversification.
    Do you think VOO is still a good investment for Canadians? I bought it because it is one of the most popular S&P 500 ETFs and because my bank does not charge for currency transactions.
    Also, if I maxed out my TFSA balance, is my Investments account a good option to buy and hold ETFs?

    My plan would be to hold it for at least the next 10 years

    Thanks in advance

    • Hi Santiago,

      Thanks for the comment! May I ask what bank does not charge for currency transactions? It is highly likely that your bank will charge you once sell your VOO and you convert that USD back to CAD, I’m not aware of any bank that doesn’t.

      Sure, your Investments account or RRSP would be a good alternative to your TFSA if you’ve maxed it out. If you have a spouse you can give them money to contribute to their TFSA also.

      Disclaimer: I am not a licensed financial advisor and the previous answer is my opinion only. Please see my disclosure for more details.

  3. Hi Chris,

    For CAD 5,000 to invest in a TFSA account, which ETFs would you recommend? With the intention of keeping the investment for at least 5 years.

    Many thanks!

  4. Hi Christopher,

    I have 5K that I would like to invest into either a Growth ETF (VGRO) or VFV. The 5K will be invested into a TSFA account. What would you suggest for a 37 year old? Additionally, I would like to invest another 5K into a REIT ETF … any suggestions there?


  5. What do you mean by- understand the risks involved with purchasing a 100% equity fund – if i only invest in VFV bad idea? Is it medium risk ETf?

      • Hey, Chris nice work!

        I’m 28 and I plan to hold my ETF for 10-15 years. Would you recommend VFVF-VGRO in my case? I will max out my TFSA and hold those ones for a long time.

        What would you advise me?

        • Hey those are two quite different ETFs. VGRO is 80% worldwide equity with 20% fixed income, and VFV is 100% U.S equity. It depends a lot on your risk tolerance also. I would do the Vanguard investor questionnaire to start to figure out your proper asset mix first.

          • Yeah, my risk tolerance is high, already checked but I wanted to know your opinion on having the VFV and VGRO together to have a nice mix. I know you are not an advisor but I know you have quite knowledge about these Canadians ETFs.

            Since my goal is to make my portfolio growth i was wondering if it is a good adiea to have these two in order to achieve it


          • VFV and VGRO are ok if they’re held in separate accounts (ex. one is in your TFSA, and other is in your RRSP), because VGRO is meant to be your entire portfolio holding for a single account. It doesn’t make sense to combine the two in one account. But if you want to weight more towards America, then holding those two ETFs is a good choice.

  6. You mentioned Canadians should not buy VOO?
    I bought VOO using US dividends from other US holding that I have.
    If one has US$, isn’t VOO a good idea?

    Secondly, is VFV ok for a TFSA? Would one be subject to the 15% withholding taxes and not be able to claim a tax credit?

    I know VFV is great for an RRSP or RIF, but I am not sure about TFSA


    • Yes if you already have a US$ account, it makes it a lot easier and cost-effective to buy VOO. You’ll still need to convert it to CAD eventually, unless you plan on using your US dollars in the U.S, so either way you’ll be hit with a currency conversion fee.

      You are also correct that VFV would be subject to a 15% withholding tax, which will be deducted before you receive the money. Be aware that it is only for the dividend gains, not the entire amount, so it’s not the worst thing. But yes, I would recommend holding it in a RRSP over a TFSA if you have the choice for either.

  7. chris: great reviews as always, kudos!
    what of if you have an RRSP ..better to hold voo so you won’t be taxed $15% on dividends by uncle sam?
    or would vfv be ok in a regular cdn acct (say WS personal) and you can fill out forms each yr to claim the 15% withholding taxes?

  8. Hi Chris,

    I’m afraid you’re mistaken on VFV being exempt from the 15% withholding tax in your RRSP. Only US-listed ETFs are exempt when held in your RRSP. VFV will have a non-recoverable tax regardless of where it’s held. VOO on the other hand will not have the 15% withheld in your RRSP, and is recoverable in non-registered accounts, but is non-recoverable in your TFSA or RESP.

    See Vanguard’s own documentation on this here:


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