How to invest in South Africa using ETFs

How do I invest in South African stocks?

The easiest way to invest in the whole South African stock market is to invest in a broad market index. This can be done at low cost by using ETFs.

On the South African stock market you find 2 indices, which are tracked by ETFs.

Alternatively, you may invest in indices on Africa. The MSCI Emerging and Frontier Markets (EFM) Africa Top 50 Capped Index contains the largest weight of South Africa with around 54%.

0.60% p.a. - 0.65% p.a.
annual total expense ratio (TER) of South Africa ETFs
on the South African stock market, which is tracked by ETFs
on the South African stock market
The best indices for South Africa ETFs

Performance of South African stocks (FTSE/JSE Top 40)

1 month: -8.57%
1 year: 16.18%
3 years: 5.66%
5 years: 13.99%

Indices in comparison

The best indices for ETFs on South Africa

For an investment in the South African stock market, 2 indices tracked by 3 ETFs are available. On the FTSE/JSE Top 40 index there is 1 ETF. On the MSCI South Africa index there are 2 ETFs. The total expense ratio (TER) of ETFs on these indices is between 0.60% p.a. and 0.65% p.a..

Index Investment focus Number of ETFs Number of constituents Short description

FTSE/JSE Top 40

South Africa 1 ETF 40
The FTSE/JSE Top 40 (total return) index tracks the 40 largest South African companies, listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE).
Index factsheet

MSCI South Africa

South Africa 2 ETFs 54
(31/10/16)
The MSCI South Africa index tracks South African stocks.
Index factsheet
ETF
ISIN
  Fund size
in m GBP
TER
in %
Use of profits Fund domicile Replication method
iShares MSCI South Africa UCITS ETFIE00B52XQP83 44 0.65% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Full replication
Lyxor UCITS ETF South Africa (FTSE JSE Top 40) C-EURFR0010464446 38 0.65% p.a. Accumulating France Unfunded swap
HSBC MSCI South Africa UCITS ETF USDIE00B57S5Q22 3 0.60% p.a. Distributing Ireland Full replication
 
Index   1 month
in %
3 months
in %
6 months
in %
1 year
in %
3 years
in %
FTSE/JSE Top 40 -4.96% 2.02% 20.71% 18.21% 8.37%
MSCI South Africa -7.51% -1.79% 22.43% 20.66% 15.35%
Index   2016
in %
2015
in %
2014
in %
2013
in %
2012
in %
FTSE/JSE Top 40 27.00% -16.96% 3.63% -4.18% 14.08%
MSCI South Africa 32.98% -22.04% 11.06% -8.95% 12.95%

Source: justETF.com; As of 30/11/16; Calculations in GBP based on the largest ETF of the respective index.

 
Alternative investment opportunities

Alternative indices with a large share of South Africa

Besides South Africa ETFs you may consider ETFs on the African stock market or emerging markets. In total, you can invest in 3 Africa indices, which are tracked by 3 ETFs. The total expense ratio (TER) of ETFs on Africa or emerging markets is between 0.55% p.a. and 0.65% p.a..

 
Index Investment focus Number of ETFs Number of constituents Short description
MSCI Emerging Markets Beyond BRIC Emerging Markets
South Africa: 15.06%
(31/10/2016)
1 ETF 530
(31/10/16)
The MSCI Emerging Markets Beyond BRIC index tracks stocks from emerging markets worldwide excluding Brazil, Russia, India and China ("BRIC"). In addition, to provide greater country diversification, the weight of each single country is capped on a quarterly basis at 15%.
Index factsheet
MSCI Emerging Markets EMEA Emerging Markets
South Africa: 45.24%
(31/10/2016)
1 ETF 164
(31/10/16)
The MSCI Emerging Markets EMEA index tracks large and mid cap companies from emerging markets in the EMEA region (Europe, Middle East and Africa).
Index factsheet
MSCI Emerging and Frontier (EFM) Africa Top 50 Capped Africa
South Africa: 54.33%
(31/10/2016)
1 ETF 50
The MSCI Emerging and Frontier (EFM) Africa Top 50 Capped index tracks large and mid capitalisation companies in Africa.
ETF
ISIN
  Fund size
in m GBP
TER
in %
Use of profits Fund domicile Replication method
db x-trackers MSCI EM EMEA Index UCITS ETF 1CLU0292109005 58 0.65% p.a. Accumulating Luxembourg Unfunded swap
db x-trackers MSCI EFM Africa TOP 50 Capped Index UCITS ETF 1CLU0592217524 20 0.65% p.a. Accumulating Luxembourg Funded swap
SPDR MSCI EM Beyond BRIC UCITS ETFIE00BCBJFC69 5 0.55% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Optimized sampling
 
Index   1 month
in %
3 months
in %
6 months
in %
1 year
in %
3 years
in %
MSCI Emerging and Frontier (EFM) Africa Top 50 Capped -9.34% -2.09% 12.38% 18.78% 4.45%
MSCI Emerging Markets EMEA -5.99% 0.82% 20.33% 23.95% -4.31%
MSCI Emerging Markets Beyond BRIC -8.55% -2.05% 20.12% 24.83% 11.23%
Index   2016
in %
2015
in %
2014
in %
2013
in %
2012
in %
MSCI Emerging and Frontier (EFM) Africa Top 50 Capped 22.66% -21.54% 7.14% -1.09% 28.67%
MSCI Emerging Markets Beyond BRIC 26.72% -13.87% 4.25% - -
MSCI Emerging Markets EMEA 32.06% -16.79% -10.94% -8.22% 15.60%

Source: justETF.com; As of 30/11/16; Calculations in GBP based on the largest ETF of the respective index.