Australian bond exchange-traded funds (ETFs) provide efficient exposure to fixed-income securities of governments, government agencies or corporate debt of companies in Australia. Investors looking to diversify the traditional U.S. equity and fixed-income securities portfolio may do so with Australian bond ETFs. However, investors should note that international investing includes many risks, such as currency, liquidity and economic risks. Investors looking for a high level of current income should consider these three ETFs that offer exposure to portfolios of high-yielding Australian fixed-income securities.
WisdomTree Australia and New Zealand Debt Fund
The WisdomTree Australia and New Zealand Debt Fund (NYSEARCA: AUNZ) was issued by WisdomTree Investments Inc. (NASDAQ: WETF) on June 25, 2008. To invest in the fund, investors are required to pay an annual net expense ratio of 0.45%. As of May 6, 2016, the fund had total net assets of $152.9 million and 8.6 million shares outstanding. The fund seeks to provide a high degree of income and capital appreciation.
To achieve its investment objective, the fund primarily invests in fixed-income securities denominated in Australian or New Zealand dollars. As of April 29, 2016, the fund's top five country allocations were 33.15% Supernationals-AUD, 20.97% Australia, 11.8% New Zealand, 8.55% Western Australia Treasury Corporation and 7.53% Queensland Treasury Corporation. The WisdomTree Australia and New Zealand Debt Fund offers a 30-day SEC yield of 2.18% and an embedded income yield of 2.47%. Additionally, the fund only carries a moderate degree of interest rate risk and has an effective duration of 4.81 years.
SPDR S&P/ASX Australian Bond Fund
The SPDR S&P/ASX Australian Bond ETF (BOND.AX) was issued by State Street Global Advisors on July 26, 2012. The fund charges an annual net expense ratio of 0.24% and is managed by State Street Global Advisors Australia Limited. The fund aims to provide returns corresponding to those of the S&P/ASX Australian Fixed Interest Index, the fund's benchmark index.
As of May 5, 2016, the fund's top five sector allocations were 48.86% commonwealth government, 24.7% semi-government, 10.58% supranational, 7.41% government-related and 5.13% corporate finance. The fund primarily holds high-quality bonds and allocates 76.47% of its portfolio to AAA, 17.21% to AA, 4.72% to A and 1.61% Baa. It has 74 holdings and assets under management of $24.04 million. The fund has an average maturity of 6.11 years and a modified adjusted duration of 5.22 years. It offers an attractive yield of 4.21% and a yield to maturity of 2.29%. Additionally, the fund has a convexity of 0.44%.
IShares Core Composite Bond ETF
The iShares Core Composite Bond ETF (IAF.AX) was issued by BlackRock Inc. (NYSE: BLK) on March 12, 2012. The fund seeks to track the performance of the Bloomberg AusBond Composite Index, the fund's underlying index. To achieve its investment objective, the iShares Core Composite Bond ETF primarily holds investment grade fixed-income securities issued by corporations domiciled in Australia and Australian governments. Investing in the fund requires an annual management fee of 0.2%.
As of May 6, 2016, the fund had 340 holdings and total net assets of AU$300.1 million. The fund's top five debt issuer allocations are 47.81% Commonwealth of Australia, 9.54% Queensland Treasury Corporation, 5.29% New South Wales Treasury Corporation, 4.55% Treasury Corporation of Victoria and 3.96% Western Australian Treasury Corporation. The fund's top sector exposures are 47.81% Treasury, 40.68% government-related, 10.36% corporate, 1.09% covered and 0.07% cash and/or derivatives.
As of May 5, 2016, the fund had an attractive running yield of 4.24%, which is calculated by dividing the annual coupon payment dividend by the market price. The fund has a weighted average yield to maturity (YTM) of 2.3% and a weighted average coupon of 4.64%. It has an effective duration of 4.75%, which indicates it carries a moderate degree of interest rate risk.