Finder makes money from featured partners, but editorial opinions are our own.

The cheapest ETFs on the ASX

Low cost index funds have annual fees from 0.03% with average returns of 14.49% over 5 years.

Investors who want to increase their returns in either superannuation or exchange traded funds (ETFs) should focus on the fees they are paying and what they are getting in return.

But while fees play a key role in the long-term success of many ETFs, it's also important to consider other factors, such as short-term and long-term performance figures and how these compare to others in the market.

This guide compares both the cheapest and best-performing ETFs to give you a broader picture of the market.

Below are the 20 cheapest ETFs on the ASX by management fees, or "management expense ratio" (MER). This is the annual fee charged by fund managers as a percentage of the assets held in the fund.

The returns shown are net, meaning fees have been removed prior to the performance figures.

Cheapest ETFs on the ASX

Fund nameCodeTypeFee (% p.a.)1-yr return3-yr return5-yr return
Vanguard US Total Market Shares Index ETFVTSETF0.03%27.02%13.06%14.49%
Betashares Australia 200 ETFA200ETF0.04%10.49%9.23%9.51%
iShares S&P 500 ETFIVVETF0.04%26.98%14.73%15.01%
Russell Sust Global Opportunities Complex ETFRGOSETF0.04%n/an/an/a
iShares Core S&P/ASX 200 ETFIOZETF0.05%10.16%8.01%9.14%
SPDR S&P/ASX 200STWETF0.05%10.32%9.00%9.25%
SPDR S&P/ASX 200 ESG FundE200ETF0.05%9.09%9.22%n/a
Vanguard Australian Shares Index ETFVASETF0.07%10.49%8.49%9.23%
iShares S&P Midcap ETFIJHETF0.07%21.01%9.46%11.20%
iShares S&P Small-Cap ETFIJRETF0.07%16.94%5.56%8.83%
iShares Core Cash ETFBILLETF0.07%4.29%2.22%1.57%
Betashares Global Shares ETFBGBLETF0.08%24.88%n/an/a
Vanguard All-World ex US Shares Index ETFVEUETF0.08%11.90%6.62%7.20%
iShares Core MSCI Australia ESG ETFIESGETF0.09%11.96%n/an/a
SPDR S&P 500 ETF TrustSPYETF0.09%26.89%14.82%15.22%
iShares S&P 500 AUD Hedged ETFIHVVETF0.10%22.53%5.99%10.51%
iShares Core MSCI World ex Australia ESG ETFIWLDETF0.10%26.24%14.41%13.54%
SPDR S&P/ASX Australian Government Bond FundGOVTETF0.10%-1.90%-3.31%-1.10%
iShares Core Composite Bond ETFIAFETF0.10%-0.60%-2.25%-0.43%
Vanguard Australian Fixed Interest Index ETFVAFETF0.10%-0.63%-2.22%-0.42%
Source: ASX | Period ending: 30 Apr 2024

How do the cheapest ETFs compare to the market?

According to the latest data, the cheapest ETF in Australia is the Vanguard US Total Market Shares Index ETF. It returned 27.80% over the 12 months to 15 May 2024.

This means it has slightly beaten the performance of the S&P 500, which grew 26.85% in the 12 months to February 2024. but trails the Nasdaq-100, which grew 36.60% in the same period.

A few averages worth noting (to 30 April 2024):

  • Average ETF return over 1 year: 12.19% p.a.
  • Average ETF return over 3 years: 4.64% p.a.
  • Average ETF return over 5 years: 6.17% p.a.
  • Average ETF management fee (MER): 0.55% p.a.

Finder survey: How often do Australians trade stocks or ETFs?

Response
Ad-hoc41.32%
Monthly29.04%
Yearly17.37%
Weekly11.38%
Daily0.9%
Source: Finder survey by Pure Profile of 1145 Australians, December 2023

Choose an ETF broker to start investing

Name Product Brokerage on AU ETFs Inactivity fee Asset class
CMC Invest
Finder Award
CMC Invest
$0
$0
ASX shares, Global shares, Options trading, US shares, ETFs
$0 brokerage on US, UK, Canadian and Japanese markets (FX spreads apply).
Trade over 45,000 shares and ETFs from Australia and 15 major global markets. Plus, buy Aussie shares or ETFs for $0 brokerage up to $1,000 (First buy order of each security, each day - excludes margin loan settled trades).
Moomoo Share Trading
$3
$0
ASX shares, Global shares, US shares, ETFs
Finder exclusive: Get 30 days of brokerage-free trading for new accounts + 6.8% on your uninvested cash. T&Cs apply.
Trade shares on the ASX, the US markets and buy ETFs with Moomoo. Plus join a community over 20 million investors.
Tiger Brokers
Exclusive
Tiger Brokers
$5.50
$0
ASX shares, Global shares, US shares, ETFs
Finder exclusive: 10 no-brokerage US or ASX market trades in the first 180 days + 7% p.a. on uninvested cash with first deposit of any amount, plus US$30 TSLA + US$30 NVDA shares with deposits up to AU$2000. T&Cs apply.
Trade Australian, US and Asian stocks with no minimum deposit on Tiger Broker’s feature-packed platform.
Webull
$4.90
$0
ASX shares, Global shares, Options trading, US shares, ETFs
Get 30 days of $0 brokerage fees when you open your account. Receive $50 of TSLA shares and a $50 trading voucher when you deposit $200. T&Cs apply.
Trade ASX and US stocks and US options, plus gain access to inbuilt news platforms and educational resources. You can also start trading for less with fractional shares.
Saxo Invested
Saxo Invested
$3
$0
ASX shares, Global shares, Options trading, US shares, ETFs
Access 6,400 ETFs over 30 exchanges worldwide
Low fees for Australian and global ETF investing, no inactivity fees and foreign currency accounts available.
loading

Important: The standard brokerage fee displayed is the trade cost for new customers to purchase $1,000 of either Australian or US shares. Where a platform charges different fees for both US and Australian shares we show the lower of the two. Where both CHESS sponsored and custodian shares are offered, we display the cheapest option.

How does the cheapest compare to the best?

While cheaper fees tend to correlate with above-average performance over many years, the same does not appear to be true for the top-performing funds.

If you take a look at the best performing ETFs on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) in 2024, you'll notice their fees aren't necessarily the cheapest. In fact, some of the highest returning funds have management fees that are well above the average of 0.55%.

20 best performing exchange traded products in 2024

Fund nameASX codeTypeFee (% p.a)1 year total return
Betashares Global Uranium ETFURNMETF0.69%79.64%
Betashares Crypto Innovators ETFCRYPETF0.67%75.79%
Global X Ultra Long Nasdaq 100 Hedge FundLNASMF173.40%
Global X Semiconductor ETFSEMIETF0.57%69.35%
Global X FANG+ ETFFANGETF0.35%65.82%
Global X Uranium ETFATOMETF0.69%63.01%
Loftus Peak Global Disruption Fund (Managed Fund)LPGDMF1.20%54.13%
Hyperion Global Growth Companies Fund (Managed Fund)HYGGMF0.70%47.43%
Betashares Geared US Equity Fund Currency Hedged (Hedge Fund)GGUSMF0.80%47.32%
Munro Climate Change Leaders Fund (Managed Fund)MCCLMF0.90%46.51%
Montaka Global Extension Fund (Quoted Managed Hedge Fund)MKAXMF1.25%45.31%
Betashares Japan ETF - Currency HedgedHJPNETF0.56%44.50%
Montaka Global Equities Fund (Managed Fund)MOGLMF1.32%42.66%
VanEck Global Listed Private Equity ETFGPEQETF0.92%42.37%
Betashares Global Cybersecurity ETFHACKETF0.67%39.78%
Munro Concentrated Global Growth Fund (Managed Fund)MCGGMF0.70%39.02%
Betashares NASDAQ 100 ETFNDQETF0.48%37.31%
Betashares Metaverse ETFMTAVETF0.69%36.68%
Betashares S&P/ASX Australian Technology ETFATECETF0.48%32.69%
Betashares NASDAQ 100 ETF - Currency HedgedHNDQETF0.51%32.44%
Source: ASX | Period ending: 30 Apr 2024 | SP = Structured Product, MF = Managed Fund / Active ETF, MER = Management Expense Ratio (aka fees).

Why are some funds cheaper than others?

Exchange traded funds typically have low management fees (MER) compared to regular managed funds because most of them are index funds. Index funds passively track a stock market index, such as the S&P/ASX200 index, so they need little legwork from the fund managers and can charge cheaper fees (MER) for the service.

Because index funds mirror the returns of the stock market, they don't usually beat it, but they do perform consistently and tend to be lower risk than other kinds of funds.

On the other hand, many of the best performing ETFs are more strategic (and may be riskier) than a standard index fund. And because of this, they often charge a higher management fee for the service.

What fees do you pay when you invest in ETFs?

These are the 3 main fees you'll need to consider when investing in an ETF:

  • Management Expense Ratio (MER): This is the annual management fee charged by the ETF provider. It's typically charged before performance figures are released and is usually between 0.1–1% of assets.
  • Brokerage fee: This is the fee charged by the broker or online trading platform every time you invest in a stock or ETF. This is typically around $10 to $30 per trade.
  • Performance fees: Some actively managed ETFs charge a performance fee. This is typically charged as a percentage of your funds that outperform a certain benchmark.

So, do fees matter?

Fees absolutely matter, especially over many years. While ETFs are relatively new to the market, long-term studies of super fund performance show that high fees are strongly correlated with long-term performance.

Among the cheapest ETFs on the ASX, just 3 underperformed the average over 3 and 5 years. It's also worth noting that the cheapest ETFs listed above are a mix of every category – including active, passive, global, Australian, high and low-risk.

What the data above also show is that fees are not the only consideration worth thinking about – and for some investors, not the most important.

More ETF news

Disclaimer: This information should not be interpreted as an endorsement of futures, stocks, ETFs, CFDs, options or any specific provider, service or offering. It should not be relied upon as investment 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. Trading CFDs and forex on leverage comes with a higher risk of losing money rapidly. Past performance is not an indication of future results. Consider your own circumstances, and obtain your own advice, before making any trades. Read the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) and Target Market Determination (TMD) for the product on the provider's website.

More guides on Finder

Ask a Question

You are about to post a question on finder.com.au:

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • finder.com.au is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Finder only provides general advice and factual information, so consider your own circumstances, or seek advice before you decide to act on our content. By submitting a question, you're accepting our 1. Terms Of Service and 6. Finder Group Privacy & Cookies Policy.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.
Go to site