The best performing ETFs in Australia for 2021

The best performing exchange traded funds delivered returns of up to 35.00% p.a. in the last five years.

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Looking for the best exchange traded funds (ETFs) in Australia? Because ETFs can be used for all different investment strategies, there's no 'one size fits all' ETF.

The funds shown in this guide aren't necessarily the best for you, however they are the best performing exchange traded products (ETPs) on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) over 1, 3 and 5 years according to the latest ASX data.

Below are the 10 highest returning ETPs in Australia, including all standard ETFs, synthetic ETFs and actively managed ETFs. This means some of them will be riskier than others. To understand more about what these terms mean, head to our comprehensive guide on ETFs.

Remember, past performance is no guarantee of future success. Depending on how the market moves, the best performing ETF of the last year might decline in value in the future. The lesson here is that performance is one consideration, but you should also look at fees, how risky the product is, your investment goals and how long you can afford to invest for.

Best ETFs of 2021 (Updated May)
1. BetaShares Geared US Equity Fund Currency Hedged (Hedge Fund)
2. BetaShares Crude Oil Index ETF-Currency Hedged (Synthetic)
3. ETFS Battery Tech & Lithium ETF
4. BetaShares Geared Australian Equity Fund (Hedge Fund)
5. VanEck Vectors Australian Bank ETF

Zero brokerage ETF offer

Superhero share trading

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Standard brokerage - Australian ETFs

Zero brokerage ETF offer

Pay zero commissions when you invest in Australian ETFs and trade ASX stocks with a $5 flat fee.

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The returns shown are net, meaning the management fees have already been deducted to offer a clearer view of performance.

Best performing ETFs over 1-year

ASX Code Type Fund Name Fund Name Fee 1-Year Return 3-Year Return 5-Year Return
GGUS Global equity BetaShares Geared US Equity Fund Currency Hedged (Hedge Fund) 0.8 98.09% 26.62% 28.04%
OOO Commodity BetaShares Crude Oil Index ETF-Currency Hedged (Synthetic) 1.29 84.90% -28.16% -15.81%
ACDC Global equity ETFS Battery Tech & Lithium ETF 0.69 79.77% n/a n/a
GEAR Australia equity BetaShares Geared Australian Equity Fund (Hedge Fund) 0.8 64.85% 12.97% 15.13%
MVB Australia equity VanEck Vectors Australian Bank ETF 0.28 58.40% 9.85% 9.46%
KSM Australia small-cap K2 Australian Small Cap Fund (Hedge Fund) 2.27 53.96% 6.43% 7.09%
FOOD Global equity BetaShares Global Agriculture Companies ETF 0.57 53.47% 9.74% n/a
ASIA Asia equityy BetaShares Asia Technology Tigers ETFF 0.67 50.83% n/a n/a
BNKS Global equity BetaShares Global Banks ETF - Currency Hedged 0.57 50.50% 2.03% n/a
FANG Global equity ETFS FANG+ ETF 0.35 49.87% n/a n/a
Source: ASX | Period ending: 31 May 2021 | SP = Structured Product, MF = Managed Fund, Fees = %p.a.

Best performing ETFs over 3 years

ASX Code Type Fund Name Fund Name Fee 3-Year Return 5-Year Return 1-Year Return
ETPMPD Commodity ETFS Physical Palladium 0.49 40.11% 35.00% 24.45%
GGUS Global equity BetaShares Geared US Equity Fund Currency Hedged (Hedge Fund) 0.8 26.62% 28.04% 98.09%
MNRS Global equity BetaShares Global Gold Miners ETF - Currency Hedged 0.57 25.93% n/a 12.57%
NDQ Global equity BetaShares NASDAQ 100 ETF 0.48 24.64% 23.57% 25.09%
TECH Global equity ETFS Morningstar Global Technology ETF 0.45 23.34% n/a 29.20%
ETHI Global equity BetaShares Global Sustainability Leaders ETF 0.59 22.77% n/a 24.35%
MOAT Global equity VanEck Vectors Morningstar Wide Moat ETF 0.49 20.42% 16.99% 23.30%
GDX Global equity VanEck Vectors Gold Miners ETF 0.53 20.32% 11.08% -0.16%
ETPMPM Commodity ETFS Precious Metals Basket 0.44 19.65% 12.79% 10.90%
HACK Global equity BetaShares Global Cybersecurity ETF 0.67 18.43% n/a 20.50%
Source: ASX | Period ending: 31 May 2021 | SP = Structured Product, MF = Managed Fund, Fees = %p.a.

Best performing ETFs over 5 years

ASX Code Type Fund Name Fund Name Fee 5-Year Return 3-Year Return 1-Year Return
ETPMPD Commodity ETFS Physical Palladium 0.49 35.00% 40.11% 24.45%
GGUS Global equity BetaShares Geared US Equity Fund Currency Hedged (Hedge Fund) 0.8 28.04% 26.62% 98.09%
NDQ Global equity BetaShares NASDAQ 100 ETF 0.48 23.57% 24.64% 25.09%
QRE Australia equity BetaShares Resources Sector ETF 0.34 20.78% 14.99% 34.24%
OZR Australia equity SPDR S&P/ASX 200 Resources Fund 0.4 20.38% 14.00% 30.89%
MVR Australia equityy VanEck Vectors Australian Resources ETF 0.35 17.46% 10.40% 18.79%
IAA Asia equity iShares Asia 50 ETF 0.51 17.07% 12.55% 35.66%
MOAT Global equity VanEck Vectors Morningstar Wide Moat ETF 0.49 16.99% 20.42% 23.30%
MVEL Australia small-cap VanEck Vectors S&P/ASX MidCap ETF 0.45 15.84% 11.78% 35.31%
VTS Global equity Vanguard US Total Market Shares Index ETF 0.03 15.80% 16.97% 24.58%
Source: ASX | Period ending: 31 May 2021 | SP = Structured Product, MF = Managed Fund, Fees = %p.a.

Compare trading platforms to invest in ETFs

Name Product ASX brokerage fee US brokerage fee Available assets
Superhero share trading
$5
N/A
  • ASX shares
  • ETFs
Pay zero brokerage on all Australian ETFs.
Trade ASX stocks with a flat $5 commission fee and a low minimum investment of just $100.
ThinkMarkets Share Trading
$8
N/A
  • ASX shares
  • ETFs
Limited offer: Get 5 free ASX trades when you open a new account with ThinkMarkets before June 30, 2021 (T&Cs apply).
Buy and sell CHESS sponsored ASX shares with $0 brokerage on your first 5 trades. Only $8 flat fee brokerage thereafter, plus enjoy free live stock price data on an easy to use mobile app.
Bell Direct Share Trading
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Bell Direct Share Trading
$15
N/A
  • ASX shares
  • mFunds
  • ETFs
⭐ Finder Exclusive: Get 5 free stock trades and unlimited ETF trades until July 31, 2021 when you join Bell Direct.
Bell Direct offers a one-second placement guarantee on market-to-limit ASX orders or your trade is free, plus enjoy extensive free research reports from top financial experts.
IG Share Trading
Finder Award
IG Share Trading
$8
or
0.1%
US$0
  • ASX shares
  • Global shares
$0 brokerage for US and global shares plus get an active trader discount of $5 commission on Australian shares.
Enjoy some of the lowest brokerage fees on the market when trading Australian shares, international shares, plus get access to 24-hour customer support.
Saxo Capital Markets (Classic account)
$6.99
US$9.9
  • ASX shares
  • Global shares
  • Forex
  • CFDs
  • Margin trading
  • Options trading
  • ETFs
Access more than 3,000 ETFs from 30+ exchanges worldwide
CMC Markets Stockbroking
$11
or
0.1%
US$0
  • ASX shares
  • Global shares
  • mFunds
  • ETFs
$0 brokerage on global shares including US, UK and Japan markets.
Trade up to 9,000 products, including shares, ETFs and managed funds, plus access up to 15 major global and Australian stock exchanges.
eToro (US, EU stock trading)
N/A
US$0
  • US shares
  • ETFs
Zero brokerage share trading on US stocks with trades as low as $50.
Join the world’s biggest social trading network when you trade stocks, commodities and currencies from the one account.
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Important: Share trading can be financially risky and the value of your investment can go down as well as up. “Standard brokerage” fee is the cost to trade $1,000 or less of ASX-listed shares and ETFs without any qualifications or special eligibility. If ASX shares aren’t available, the fee shown is for US shares. Where both CHESS sponsored and custodian shares are offered, we display the cheapest option.

How to pick the best ETF for you

  • Time frame. Think about how long you can invest your money for and when you may need to access it. Some ETFs rise quickly over the short term but pose the risk of falling over several years. Others rise slowly over the long term but may dip over the short-term.
  • Have a strategy. What do you want to get from this ETF. Can you afford to take on a riskier short-term investment or would you prefer to be more sure of your returns over a longer period? If you'd prefer to avoid risk, you might want to consider index funds.
  • Understand the product. It’s always important to thoroughly research the listed fund you wish to invest in, whether that’s an index ETF, an active ETF or a structured product. Download the funds’ PDF and read through the details.
  • Check the returns. Look at the returns (including all fees) over different periods of time. How has it performed over a one-year period? How has it performed over several years?
  • Understand the fees. Fees strongly influence return on investment. Make sure the returns outshine the ETF’s management fees and pick a broker with fees that match your trading habits.
  • Fully understand the product. Make sure you understand the nature of the product and the risks involved before you invest in an ETF. Some very complex products may appear to be simple on the outside. If you don't understand how the investment is managed or how the fund manager aims to achieve returns, talk to a licensed financial adviser or don't invest in the product.

How to invest in a cheap ETF

As is the case with super funds and savings accounts, there is a direct correlation between high fees and an ETF’s overall performance. When fees are higher, returns tend to be lower and vice versa. There are two main costs involved when investing in listed funds: the brokerage fees and the management fees.

  • Brokerage fees. As with shares, you’re charged a transaction fee by your broker every time you invest money into an ETF. For example, CommSec charges $10 for every transaction of $1,000 or less, while CMC Markets charges $11 or 0.1%, whichever is higher. This fee will come down to which trading platform or brokerage you choose to use.
  • Management fee. This is often displayed as the management expense ratio (MER), which is the percentage of your return charged as fees by the ETF’s fund managers. Normally, the more work a fund manager has to do to keep the ETF profitable, the higher the fee – though this won’t always be the case. This is why many active ETFs charge higher fees than index ETFs, which passively track an index.

To find a platform that offers the lowest fees, you’ll first need to decide how much you want to invest in the fund and how many lump sums you’ll be investing over a year. If it’s just one lump sum, a platform that doesn’t charge an inactivity fee will be key. If you plan on frequently adding small amounts, the brokerage fee itself will be more important.

Brokerage fees range from around $10 to $30 per transaction and ETF fees range from about 0.05% to 0.8%.

What are the risks of investing in ETFs?

  • You could lose money. The value of ETFs and other types of listed funds rise and fall like any listed stock, which means there are similar risks involved.
  • Single-asset ETFs. Some ETFs bundle a diverse range of securities that protect the investor from market falls; others hone in on one asset class. For example, a commodity ETF that invests in a particular metal will do well when that metal’s price goes up, but it will also fall quickly if prices don’t have the protection of other asset classes.
  • Currency risks. If you invest in a global ETF, changes in the value of the Australian dollar will have a direct impact on the value of your investment.
  • International taxes. If you buy units in an ETF listed overseas, you may need to pay foreign taxes. Make sure you’re aware of all tax implications of an ETF before you commit any funds.
  • Synthetic ETFs. These have all the same risks as physical ETFs, but they also expose you to other potential risks such as counterparty risks. There's also the possibility that the price of futures will differ from the price of an underlying asset.

Before deciding whether ETFs are the best investment solution for you, make sure you’re fully aware of how they work and have an in-depth understanding of all the risks involved. Read the product disclosure statement closely, ask questions of the ETF issuer if you’re unsure about anything and consider seeking help from a qualified financial adviser.

You can read more in our comprehensive ETF guide.

How to invest in an ETF

Once you’ve considered the risks of investing in ETFs and worked out your financial goals, you can buy and sell units in an ETF like any share on the stock market through a fund manager or an online trading platform.

To invest in ETFs through an online trading platform, you’ll need to do the following:

  1. Search for a trading platform that suits your investment needs
  2. Sign up by providing personal details, proof of residency and proof of ID
  3. Log in to your trading account
  4. Move money into your trading account through a bank transaction or BPAY
  5. Search for the ETF on your platform and place an order

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Disclaimer: This information should not be interpreted as an endorsement of futures, stocks, ETFs, options or any specific provider, service or offering. It should not be relied upon as advice or construed as providing recommendations of any kind. Futures, stocks, ETFs and options trading involves substantial risk of loss and therefore are not appropriate for all investors. Past performance is not an indication of future results. Consider your own circumstances, and obtain your own advice, before making any trades.

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