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The best performing ETFs in Australia for 2020

The best performing exchange traded funds delivered returns of up to 27% p.a. in the last five years.

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We’re committed to our readers and editorial independence. We don’t compare all products in the market and may receive compensation when we refer you to our partners, but this does not influence our opinions or reviews. Learn more about Finder .

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. However we can look at how well they've performed over different time frames.

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. To understand more about what these terms mean, head to our comprehensive guide on ETFs.

Of course, 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.

Must read: Looking for the best ETF?

There's no single ETF that's best for everyone as all our needs are different - and what's best for you might not be best for someone else. To find the best performing ETFs, we compare all ASX-listed ETFs on a monthly basis. Other factors such as fees, risk and volatility are not taken into account.

Zero brokerage ETF offer

Superhero share trading

AUD 0

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.

  • Zero brokerage for Australian ETFs
  • Cheap $5 flat fee for ASX stocks
  • Low $100 minimum investment
  • No monthly fee for basic account
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Important: Share trading carries risk of capital loss.

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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 ETFs of 2020 (Updated June)
1. BetaShares Global Gold Miners ETF - Currency Hedged
2. VanEck Vectors Gold Miners ETF
3. ETFS Physical Palladium
4. BetaShares Asia Technology Tigers ETF
5. ETFS Precious Metals Basket

Best performing ETFs over 1-year

ASX Code Type Fund Name Fund Name Fee 1-Year Return 3-Year Return 5-Year Return
ASIA Asia equity BetaShares Asia Technology Tigers ETF 0.67 58.15% n/a n/a
MNRS Global equity BetaShares Global Gold Miners ETF - Currency Hedged 0.57 55.05% 24.99% n/a
CNEW Asia equity VanEck Vectors China New Economy ETF 0.95 43.36% n/a n/a
NDQ Global equity BetaShares NASDAQ 100 ETF 0.48 38.43% 28.19% 22.29%
CURE Global equity ETFS S&P Biotech ETF 0.45 37.01% n/a n/a
GDX Global equity VanEck Vectors Gold Miners ETF 0.53 36.35% 23.80% 24.07%
RBTZ Global equity BetaShares Global Robotics and Artificial Intelligence ETF 0.57 32.84% n/a n/a
ACDC Global equity ETFS Battery Tech & Lithium ETF 0.82 30.25% n/a n/a
ETPMPD Commodity ETFS Physical Palladium 0.49 29.23% 39.86% 29.95%
ETPMAG Commodity ETFS Physical Silver 0.49 28.63% 15.43% 9.53%
Source: ASX | Period ending: 30 September 2020 | 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 39.86% 29.95% 29.23%
NDQ Global equity BetaShares NASDAQ 100 ETF 0.48 28.19% 22.29% 38.43%
MNRS Global equity BetaShares Global Gold Miners ETF - Currency Hedged 0.57 24.99% n/a 55.05%
TECH Global equity ETFS Morningstar Global Technology ETF 0.45 24.70% n/a 24.61%
GDX Global equity VanEck Vectors Gold Miners ETF 0.53 23.80% 24.07% 36.35%
ETHI Global equity BetaShares Global Sustainability Leaders ETF 0.59 22.29% n/a 26.64%
HACK Global equity BetaShares Global Cybersecurity ETF 0.67 20.81% n/a 20.82%
ETPMPM Commodity ETFS Precious Metals Basket 0.44 20.43% 12.65% 21.40%
QUAL Global equity VanEck Vectors MSCI World Ex-Australia Quality ETF 0.4 18.15% 14.30% 15.97%
PMGOLD Commodity Perth Mint Gold 0.15 17.59% 10.54% 19.88%
Source: ASX | Period ending: 30 September 2020 | 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 29.95% 39.86% 29.23%
GDX Global equity VanEck Vectors Gold Miners ETF 0.53 24.07% 23.80% 36.35%
NDQ Global equity BetaShares NASDAQ 100 ETF 0.48 22.29% 28.19% 38.43%
GGUS Global equity BetaShares Geared US Equity Fund Currency Hedged (Hedge Fund) 0.8 20.92% 11.33% 3.91%
MVE Australia small-cap VanEck Vectors S&P/ASX MidCap ETF 0.45 17.05% 8.25% 2.23%
MVR Australia equity VanEck Vectors Australian Resources ETF 0.35 16.39% 10.96% -4.94%
MOAT Global equity VanEck Vectors Morningstar Wide Moat ETF 0.49 15.53% 15.32% 3.69%
OZR Australia equity SPDR S&P/ASX 200 Resources Fund 0.4 15.29% 12.21% -3.50%
QRE Australia equity BetaShares Resources Sector ETF 0.39 15.24% 12.51% -2.73%
QUAL Global equity VanEck Vectors MSCI World Ex-Australia Quality ETF 0.4 14.30% 18.15% 15.97%
Source: ASX | Period ending: 30 September 2020 | SP = Structured Product, MF = Managed Fund, Fees = %p.a.

Compare trading platforms to invest in ETFs

Data indicated here is updated regularly
Name Product Brokerage on AU ETFs Inactivity fee Markets
Superhero share trading
AUD 0
No
ASX shares
Pay zero brokerage on all Australian ETFs.
Trade ASX stocks with a flat $5 commission fee and a low minimum investment of just $100.
IG Share Trading
Finder Award
IG Share Trading
AUD 8 or 0.1%
AUD 50 per quarter if you make fewer than three trades in that period
ASX shares, Global shares, Forex, CFDs, Margin trading
Brokerage discount: $5 on Australian shares for active traders & $0 commission on US and global shares
Enjoy some of the lowest brokerage fees on the market when trading Australian shares, international shares, forex and CFDs, plus get access to 24-hour customer support.
eToro Share Trading (US stocks)
N/A
USD 10 per month if there’s been no login for 12 months
Forex, CFDs, US shares
Zero brokerage share trading on US stocks with trades as low as $50.
Note: This broker offers CFDs which are volatile investment products and most clients lose money trading CFDs with this provider.
Join the world’s biggest social trading network when you trade stocks, commodities and forex from the one account.
Saxo Capital Markets (Classic account)
AUD 6.99 for issuer sponsored or AUD 14.90 CHESS
AUD 0
ASX shares, Global shares, Forex, CFDs, Margin trading, Options trading
High quality, low-cost brokerage on global share trading.
Access up to 19,000 global stocks on 36 of the world’s major stock exchanges and enjoy some of the most competitive FX rates on the the market when you trade with Saxo Capital Markets.
CMC Markets Stockbroking
AUD 11 or 0.1%
No
ASX shares, Global shares, Forex, CFDs, Margin trading, Options trading, mFunds
$0 brokerage on global shares including US, UK and Japan markets.
Trade up to 9,000 products, including shares, managed funds, forex, commodities and cryptocurrencies, plus access up to 15 major global and Australian stock exchanges.
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Compare up to 4 providers

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.

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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