NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Australia has long been a centerpiece in how I build foreign exposure into client accounts.Australia's economy depends on commodities while the U.S. relies on the service industry. The different economic attributes has meant that Australia is usually on a different economic cycle, which has helped the country outperform the U.S. Australian stocks gained 51% during the last decade while the S&P 500 Index fell 24%. It's worth noting that Australia hasn't had a technical recession since 1991, though it came close in 2008. For years, the most popular exchange traded fund for Australian access has been the iShares MSCI Australia Index Fund ( EWA). Because of the appreciation of the Australian dollar compared to the U.S. dollar, the iShares fund has doubled during the past decade. The recently launched IndexIQ Australia Small Cap ETF ( KROO) offers another way to access Australian stocks. The new small-cap fund complements the large-cap exposure offered by the iShares fund. The iShares fund's largest holding is BHP Billiton ( BHP) with 14% of its assets. Four banks -- Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Westpac Bank, Australia and New Zealand Banking Group and National Australia Bank -- make up 27% of the fund. Although most people think of the materials sector first when they think of Australia, the financial sector comprises 44% of the fund and materials 26%. The IndexIQ Australia Small Cap ETF looks much different, with only 10% in financials. The materials sector is the largest position at 28%, followed by consumer discretionary at 24% and industrials at 10%. Unless you're a regular viewer of CNBC's Squawk Australia most of the individual holdings will be unfamiliar, but some are quite interesting companies, including surfwear maker Billabong International, electronics retailer JB Hi-Fi and Ansell, the world's largest makers of rubber gloves. As is typical of small-cap exposure, the historical returns of the index underlying the Australia Small Cap ETF have been more volatile than the large-cap MSCI Australia Index. During the past five years, the small-cap index returned 9.3% annually, on average, with a standard deviation of 32.6, while the MSCI Index has gained 11%, with a standard deviation of 25.58. During the down year of 2008 small caps went down 8 percentage points more than the large caps. In the bull market years between 2005 and 2007, Australian small-cap stocks outperformed large-caps by 5 percentage points, on average.