Crafting a Diversified Portfolio: Embracing an All-ETF Investment Strategy

Crafting a Diversified Portfolio: Embracing an All-ETF Investment Strategy

5 Min.

Exchange-traded funds (ETFs) are a type of security that provides access to various stocks or other investments, such as an extensive index or an industry sub-sector. As ETFs typically represent an index of a particular asset class or sub-class, they can be used to construct efficient, passive indexed portfolios. ETFs are relatively inexpensive, offer greater liquidity and transparency than some mutual funds, and trade like a stock throughout the day. By selecting the right blend of ETFs, you can create an optimal portfolio that aligns with your long-term objectives.


In the early 2000s, exchange-traded funds burst onto the financial scene, witnessing remarkable growth that endures to this day. These investment vehicles have not only multiplied in number but have also garnered increasing popularity among investors. The advent of ETFs has significantly broadened the scope of low-cost investment opportunities across various asset classes in the market. However, the sheer volume of available options has created a challenging landscape for investors, with over 10,000 ETFs globally demanding scrutiny. Navigating this expansive terrain poses a formidable task, especially for the weekend investor. recently reported a monumental achievement in the global ETFs industry, revealing that assets invested reached a new milestone of US$10.99 trillion by the end of November.

This article aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of ETF fundamentals while offering insights into the construction of an all-ETF portfolio tailored to your investment objectives.

Unlocking the Advantages of an ETF Investment Approach

Embracing the ETF portfolio strategy offers distinct advantages rooted in their unique characteristics. Unlike mutual funds, ETFs, resembling baskets of individual securities, boast the flexibility of stock-like trading, allowing transactions throughout market hours. Furthermore, their cost efficiency, attributed to passive management linked to underlying indices or market sectors, results in generally lower expense ratios compared to actively managed mutual funds.

Instant Diversification: The Prime Attraction of ETFs

Opting for an ETF over individual stocks yields instant diversification, a pivotal advantage. Investing in an ETF that tracks a financial services index is a smart move as it gives you ownership in a diverse set of financial stocks instead of being restricted to a single company. This approach aligns with the wise investment strategy of not placing all your eggs in one basket. This diversification protects against volatility, mitigating the impact of specific stocks within the ETF experiencing downturns.

Expanding Portfolio Horizons With ETFs

Another notable perk of ETFs is their ability to introduce portfolios to alternative asset classes, encompassing commodities, currencies, and real estate. This broader exposure enhances portfolio resilience and diversification, catering to the evolving needs of investors seeking a well-rounded investment strategy.

Optimal ETF Selection: Key Considerations

Before selecting the right ETFs for your portfolio, it is important to carefully consider several key factors.

Analyzing ETF Composition

Beyond relying on the ETF name, a comprehensive evaluation of its composition is imperative. Take, for instance, water-related ETFs; a mere name check falls short. Upon examining their top holdings, it's clear that each fund emphasizes different sectors, resulting in varying returns.

Performance Comparison and Fee Awareness

While past performance doesn't guarantee future outcomes, comparing the historical performance of similar ETFs provides valuable insights. Despite generally low fees, vigilant scrutiny of expense ratios is essential to avoid unnecessary costs.

Prudent Monitoring of Asset Metrics

Vigilance extends to critical metrics such as assets under management, a pivotal indicator of an ETF's viability. Inadequate levels might trigger liquidation risks, an undesirable scenario for investors. Additionally, attention to daily average volume and bid/ask spread is imperative. Low volume signals diminished liquidity, complicating share transactions.

Constructing an ETF-Based Portfolio: A Systematic Approach

Embarking on the journey of building an ETF portfolio involves strategic steps for optimal results.

Step 1: Precision in Asset Allocation

Define your portfolio's purpose, considering factors like objectives, return expectations, time horizon, distribution needs, tax implications, and personal circumstances. Utilize the three-factor model, shaped by Eugene Fama and Kenneth French, to gauge market returns, emphasizing the significance of asset allocation in portfolio returns. Acknowledge that over 90% of returns result from allocation decisions rather than market timing.

Step 2: Execution of Strategy

Leverage the versatility of ETFs to tailor your exposure by selecting funds for specific sectors or indices. Prioritize a phased approach in implementing your strategy, avoiding one-day bulk orders. Strategic timing, incorporating chart analysis and buying on dips, enhances effectiveness. Implement risk management with stop-loss orders, limiting potential losses to no more than 20% below the entry price.

Step 3: Vigilant Monitoring and Assessment

Regularly assess your portfolio, preferably annually, aligning with your tax circumstances. Evaluate each ETF's performance against its benchmark index, aiming for minimal tracking error. Balance ETF weightings to rectify imbalances resulting from market fluctuations. Adopt a disciplined approach to rebalancing, ideally on a quarterly or annual basis, avoiding overtrading. Adapting the portfolio to changes in circumstances is essential, but maintaining a long-term perspective is paramount.

Crafting a Diversified All-ETF Portfolio

In pursuit of an exclusive ETF portfolio, prioritizing diversification across multiple asset classes is crucial. A targeted approach involves delving into three key realms:

  1. Sector-Specific ETFs: Initiate your portfolio with sector ETFs, emphasizing diverse sectors to mitigate correlation risks. Selection criteria should hinge on fundamental valuations, technical indicators, and economic outlook. A prudent approach involves avoiding overconcentration and ensuring true diversification.
  2. Global Reach with International ETFs: Broaden horizons by incorporating international ETFs, spanning emerging and developed markets. Scrutinize fundamentals and technicals in choosing ETFs, considering individual stock composition and sector allocation within each fund.
  3. Commodity Exposure Through ETFs: Integrate commodity ETFs, encompassing a spectrum from gold to cotton. While individual commodity tracking is an option, broad commodity ETFs or exchange-traded notes (ETNs) provide stability in the face of commodity market volatility. Careful consideration aligns commodity choices with individual risk tolerance.

These focus areas serve as recommendations, adaptable to personal preferences. Roboadvisors, gaining popularity, frequently employ all-ETF portfolios tailored to user preferences.


As time unfolds, market fluctuations and individual stock variations are inevitable. However, incorporating a cost-effective ETF portfolio is poised to mitigate volatility, fostering a smoother path toward attaining your investment objectives.

Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs)
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