The emerging-market exposure in Amerigo raises the internal cost of the ETFs while the bond exposure in Clermont lowers the internal expense. Obviously, the internal expense will vary as the allocations change. At 1.4% to 1.5% total expense, that placed the funds in line with the average "A" share fund in Morningstar.
Is this type of ETF-only portfolio something investors can try at home without a professional helping them?
Exchange-traded funds are available to all investors, be they institutional investors or the retail investor who enjoys managing their own investments. If an individual investor has the time, desire and skill level to determine their investment objectives, know their tolerance for risk and how the different asset classes interact, they can indeed build their own portfolio allocation. The key point is that exchange-traded funds are a "tool"; they don't become a "solution" until they are put together into a portfolio directed toward a goal.
You mix and match ETFs from different fund families. Do you see a big difference between the different brands offered such as Vipers, iShares, SPDRs and streetTracks? How do you discriminate between them?
We evaluate ETFs of the different providers based on the index they track, liquidity and the expense ratio. For the most part, we have utilized iShares and SPDRs. More recently we have begun to utilize Vipers.
Lately there have been very specialized ETFs offered by companies like PowerShares. Does getting too specialized reduce the utility of an ETF?
We have tended to stay with the more traditional ETFs. Transparency is very important to us, and we are not inclined to purchase an ETF with a "black box" strategy attached to it. That is not to say that other investors may not find them attractive. If we were to find a particular subsector that was attractive, we would look into the individual equities that made up that subsector and purchase them rather than move to a highly specialized ETF.