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Vanguard Canadian Short-Term Bond Index ETF - VSB

ETF Overview

The fund seeks to track, to the extent reasonably possible and before fees and expenses, the performance of a broad Canadian bond index with a short-term dollar weighted average maturity.

Currently, this Vanguard ETF seeks to track the Barclays Capital Global Aggregate Canadian Government/Credit 1-5 year Float Adjusted Bond Index (or any successor thereto).

It invests primarily in public, investment-grade fixed income securities issued in Canada.

Additional Index Information

The Barclays Global Aggregate Canadian Government/Credit 1–5 year Float Adjusted Bond Index measures the investment return of investment-grade securities issued in Canada—including government, government-related and corporate products—all with maturities between one and five years.

Key ETF Data

Fundamentals
Category (main) Canadian Fixed Income - Government & Corporate (investment grade) Short Term
Underlying Index Barclays Global Aggregate Canadian Government/Credit 1–5 year Float Adjusted Bond Index
ETF Structure Passive type. Endeavours to return the Index return before fees/costs
Asset Class Fixed Income - Government & Corporate (investment grade) Short Term
Region Canada
Issuer Vanguard Investments Canada
ETF Home Page Available here
Fund Facts
Inception Date Nov 29, 2011
Total Holdings 219
Distribution Frequency Monthly
Leverage None
Significant Currency Exposure No
Currency Hedging Not applicable
Fees
Management Fee 0.15%
Management Expense Ratio (MER) 0.19% *

* 2012

Trading Information
Ticker VSB
Exchange TSX (Toronto Stock Exchange)
Currency CAD
Eligibility
Eligibility * RRSP, RRIF, RESP, TFSA, DPSP, RDSP
DRIP available ** Yes
PACC Plan available ** No
SWP available ** No

* Always check eligibility with your plan operator as plans and accounts can differ

** Not all brokers can facilitate these plans. Check with your broker.

Current Price, Fund Performance, Yield, NAV, Charts etc

To view the TSX or Morningstar fund page for this ETF click on the Fund Data menu tab or below:

ETF at TMX ETF at Morningstar

ETF Analysis

Bonds/fixed income funds should be an important component in most investment portfolios. The general rule of thumb is that you should have the percentage equivalent in bonds as per your age. So if you are 30, your portfolio should comprise 30% bonds/fixed income funds.

However the bond markets are in near unprecedented territory. Years of central bank stimulus packages and ultra-low interest rates since 2008's Financial crisis have created a massive bubble.

Many analysts including Peter Boockvar, managing director and chief market analyst at The Lindsey Group, agree. He stated in July 2016 that the bond market is in an ‘epic bubble of colossal proportions’.

Until the buddle bursts, we cannot recommend buying bonds/fixed income funds.

If you absolutely have to buy bonds/fixed income funds then ensure you always check the Yield To Maturity (YTM), also known as the Weighted Average Yield To Maturity.

The YTM is much more important than the bond's current yield (also called the current distribution yield).

The YTM (unlike current yield) considers not only the coupon income, but any capital gain or loss that an investor will realize by holding the bonds to maturity. It also considers reinvestment of the coupons.

Unfortunately the frothy bond market has meant many fixed income ETFs have had to purchase many bonds at a premium. An ultra-low rate environment and purchasing bonds at a premium makes for a particularly terrible climate for income seekers, and new fixed income investors.

Protect yourself by understanding YTM and checking the YTM of any fixed income security you are considering purchasing. Also understand quality ratings, duration and maturities.

Be particularly aware of fund fees. What is the fund's MER ()? An MER of 0.40% may not sound like much but fixed income funds are supposed to be less risky than equities (bond market bubbles such as the current one excepted) so their returns are typically considerably less. Consequently an MER of 0.40% may actually be a significant portion of any investment return from a bond/fixed income fund. Bond ETFs with sub 0.20% MERs are available.