Exchange Traded Funds, or ETFs for short, are investment funds that track the performance of an index, commodity or basket of assets. These funds can be traded on stock exchanges just like individual stocks, making them popular among investors who seek diversification in their portfolios at low costs. This article will explore ETFs and how to trade them in Singapore.

ETFs have become increasingly popular in Singapore over the past decade as more investors look for ways to diversify their portfolios while minimising trading fees and other expenses associated with buying and selling individual stocks. An ETF is a type of investment fund in Singapore that holds various assets, such as stocks, bonds, commodities or currencies, in a portfolio designed to follow the performance of an underlying index. A fund manager decides the components of the portfolio, which can be adjusted over time to reflect market changes.


Diversification is one of the most crucial benefits of investing in ETFs, so it is advised to use a broker from Saxo Bank Group. Investing in an ETF can spread your risk across various assets. It helps to reduce volatility and ensure that losses are minimised through diverse investments. An ETF also allows for greater diversification within an individual asset class by offering exposure to hundreds or thousands of companies simultaneously, which would be difficult to achieve through traditional stock-picking methods.

Another benefit of diversification with ETFs is that it allows investors to tailor their investments according to their risk tolerances and objectives. For example, a conservative investor may choose an ETF that contains mostly low-risk stocks, while an aggressive investor may select one with greater exposure to higher-risk stocks.

Low costs

ETFs offer other advantages in terms of costs. Unlike mutual funds, which require payment of upfront sales charges or commissions for each transaction, ETFs can be traded at the exact cost of buying shares on the open market, making them much more cost-effective than traditional mutual funds since there are no additional charges for trading. Moreover, because ETFs are passively managed (they track preset indices), they tend to have lower expense ratios than actively managed mutual funds.

ETFs also provide investors with greater flexibility when it comes to trading. Instead of being restricted to a specific time frame, such as the end of the trading day, like with mutual funds, ETFs can be bought and sold at any point, allowing investors to respond quickly to market changes without waiting until the end the trading period. Moreover, because they are traded on exchanges, ETFs can be used in strategies such as short-selling or leveraging (trading on margin) which are not available with traditional mutual funds.

What are the drawbacks of investing in ETFs?

Risks are an inevitable part of investing, and ETFs are no exception. While ETFs can provide investors with a diverse portfolio at low costs and greater flexibility, they come with risks worth being aware of.

One risk of ETFs is that the fund’s performance may not match its underlying index. The fund’s manager may need to accurately track the index or make mistakes in selecting securities for the portfolio. Furthermore, adding more money to a single fund can lead to market distortion, resulting in better performance.

Another risk to consider is that ETFs can be subject to tracking errors. Tracking error occurs when an ETF does not properly mirror its underlying index due to the entities’ differences in fees and taxes. Investors may experience returns different from what their underlying index has generated, even though their holdings are identical.

Finally, it’s essential to understand how liquidity works in ETFs, as this could impact your investment returns. Low liquidity in a particular fund could affect its ability to trade at fair value and lead investors to incur losses due to wide spreads between bid and ask prices on different days.


ETFs offer several benefits over traditional mutual funds. They provide diversification across markets and asset classes, low costs due to their passive management and lack of upfront sales charges, and flexibility regarding when they can be traded. For these reasons, ETFs are becoming increasingly popular among investors looking for an easy and cost-effective way to diversify their portfolios.

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