How to invest in South Korea using ETFs

How do I invest in South Korean stocks?

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

On the South Korean stock market you find 3 indices, which are tracked by ETFs.

Alternatively, you can invest in indices on the Asia-Pacific region and Emerging Markets. However, South Korea is weighted with less than 16% in these indices.

0.09% p.a. - 0.74% p.a.
annual total expense ratio (TER) of South Korea ETFs
on the South Korean stock market, which are tracked by ETFs
on the South Korean stock market
The best indices for South Korea ETFs

Performance of South Korean stocks (MSCI Korea 20/35)

1 month: 5.39%
1 year: 14.84%
3 years: 7.83%
5 years: 83.02%

Indices in comparison

The best indices for ETFs on South Korea

For an investment in the South Korean stock market, there are 3 indices available which are tracked by 6 ETFs. On the FTSE Korea 30/18 Capped index there is 1 ETF. On the MSCI Korea index there is 1 ETF. On the MSCI Korea 20/35 index there are 4 ETFs. The total expense ratio (TER) of ETFs on these indices is between 0.09% p.a. and 0.74% p.a..

Index Investment focus Number of ETFs Number of constituents Short description

FTSE Korea 30/18 Capped

South Korea 1 ETF 136
(30/09/19)
The FTSE Korea 30/18 Capped index tracks the largest stocks from South Korea. The largest company in the index is limited to a maximum of 30 percent of the index capitalization, all other index components to a maximum of 18 percent.
Index factsheet

MSCI Korea

South Korea 1 ETF 107
(30/09/20)
The MSCI Korea index tracks large and mid cap Korean stocks.
Index factsheet

MSCI Korea 20/35

South Korea 4 ETFs 107
(30/06/20)
The MSCI Korea 20/35 index tracks large and mid cap Korean stocks. The weight of the largest constituent is constrained to 35% and the weights of all other constituents are constrained to a maximum of 20%.
Index factsheet
ETF
ISIN
  Fund size
in m GBP
TER
in %
Use of profits Fund domicile Replication method
iShares MSCI Korea UCITS ETF (Dist)IE00B0M63391 379 0.74% p.a. Distributing Ireland Full replication
Franklin FTSE Korea UCITS ETFIE00BHZRR030 239 0.09% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Full replication
Lyxor MSCI Korea UCITS ETF - AccLU1900066975 89 0.45% p.a. Accumulating Luxembourg Unfunded swap
Xtrackers MSCI Korea UCITS ETF 1CLU0292100046 81 0.65% p.a. Accumulating Luxembourg Full replication
iShares MSCI Korea UCITS ETF (Acc)IE00B5W4TY14 60 0.65% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Full replication
HSBC MSCI Korea Capped UCITS ETF USDIE00B3Z0X395 11 0.60% p.a. Distributing Ireland Full replication
 
Index   1 month
in %
3 months
in %
6 months
in %
1 year
in %
3 years
in %
MSCI Korea -0.45% 8.08% 10.15% 10.58% -4.20%
MSCI Korea 20/35 0.03% 8.56% 10.97% 11.49% -3.41%
FTSE Korea 30/18 Capped 0.00% 9.02% 12.21% 11.93% -
Index   2020
in %
2019
in %
2018
in %
2017
in %
2016
in %
MSCI Korea -1.18% 7.43% -16.67% 33.83% 29.89%
MSCI Korea 20/35 -0.17% 9.03% -17.10% 33.48% 30.12%
FTSE Korea 30/18 Capped 1.09% - - - -

Source: justETF.com; As of 31/08/20; Calculations in GBP based on the largest ETF of the respective index.

 

The best South Korea ETFs
by 1 year return

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The cheapest South Korea ETFs
by total expense ratio (TER)

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Alternative investment opportunities

Asia-Pacific indices with a large share of South Korea

Besides South Korea ETFs, you may consider ETFs on the Asia-Pacific region. In total, you can invest in 4 Asia-Pacific indices, which are tracked by 10 ETFs. The total expense ratio (TER) of ETFs on Asia-Pacific is between 0.12% p.a. and 0.74% p.a..

 
Index Investment focus Number of ETFs Number of constituents Short description
MSCI AC Asia Pacific ex Japan Asia Pacific
South Korea: 11.33%
(29/05/2020)
1 ETF 1,257
(30/09/20)
The MSCI AC Asia Pacific ex Japan index tracks equity markets of the emerging and developed countries of the Asia and Pacific region, excluding Japan.
Index factsheet
MSCI AC Asia ex Japan Asia Pacific
South Korea: 13.42%
(29/05/2020)
2 ETFs 1,186
(30/09/20)
The MSCI AC Asia ex Japan index tracks equity markets of the emerging and developed countries of the Asia region, excluding Japan.
Index factsheet
MSCI AC Far East ex Japan Asia Pacific
South Korea: 14.76%
(29/05/2020)
2 ETFs 1,097
(30/09/20)
The MSCI AC Far East ex Japan index tracks equity markets of the emerging and developed countries of the East Asian region, excluding Japan.
Index factsheet
MSCI Emerging Markets Asia Asia Pacific
South Korea: 15.25%
(29/05/2020)
5 ETFs 1,123
(30/09/20)
The MSCI Emerging Markets Asia index tracks large and mid cap companies from Asian emerging markets.
Index factsheet
ETF
ISIN
  Fund size
in m GBP
TER
in %
Use of profits Fund domicile Replication method
iShares MSCI AC Far East ex-Japan UCITS ETFIE00B0M63730 1,697 0.74% p.a. Distributing Ireland Optimized sampling
Amundi ETF MSCI Emerging Markets Asia UCITS ETF USDLU1681044563 955 0.20% p.a. Accumulating Luxembourg Unfunded swap
SPDR MSCI EM Asia UCITS ETFIE00B466KX20 760 0.55% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Optimized sampling
iShares MSCI EM Asia UCITS ETF (Acc)IE00B5L8K969 711 0.65% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Optimized sampling
Lyxor MSCI AC Asia Pacific Ex Japan UCITS ETF - AccLU1900068328 480 0.60% p.a. Accumulating Luxembourg Unfunded swap
Xtrackers MSCI EM Asia Swap UCITS ETF 1CLU0292107991 445 0.65% p.a. Accumulating Luxembourg Unfunded swap
Xtrackers MSCI AC Asia ex Japan Swap UCITS ETF 1CLU0322252171 411 0.65% p.a. Accumulating Luxembourg Unfunded swap
HSBC MSCI AC Far East ex Japan UCITS ETF USDIE00BBQ2W338 382 0.45% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Optimized sampling
UBS ETF (IE) MSCI AC Asia Ex Japan SF UCITS ETF (USD) A-accIE00B7WK2W23 127 0.23% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Swap-based
Lyxor MSCI EM Asia UCITS ETF - AccLU1781541849 85 0.12% p.a. Accumulating Luxembourg Unfunded swap
 
Index   1 month
in %
3 months
in %
6 months
in %
1 year
in %
3 years
in %
MSCI AC Asia Pacific ex Japan 2.08% 11.88% 9.58% 6.98% 9.60%
MSCI AC Asia ex Japan 0.74% 11.12% 9.28% 8.77% 9.19%
MSCI AC Far East ex Japan 0.80% 11.15% 10.67% 10.81% 10.78%
MSCI Emerging Markets Asia 1.85% 13.53% 13.44% 14.12% 13.44%
Index   2020
in %
2019
in %
2018
in %
2017
in %
2016
in %
MSCI AC Asia Pacific ex Japan 2.97% 14.45% -9.67% 23.61% 27.08%
MSCI AC Asia ex Japan 3.67% 13.39% -10.09% 28.95% 26.11%
MSCI AC Far East ex Japan 5.18% 15.02% -10.95% 28.59% 27.11%
MSCI Emerging Markets Asia 7.92% 15.06% -11.18% 29.44% 27.16%

Source: justETF.com; As of 31/08/20; Calculations in GBP based on the largest ETF of the respective index.

 

Emerging markets indices with a large share of South Korea

Besides South Korea ETFs you may consider emerging markets ETFs. In total, you can invest in 1 emerging markets index, which is tracked by 12 ETFs. The total expense ratio (TER) of ETFs on emerging markets is between 0.14% p.a. and 0.55% p.a..

 
Index Investment focus Number of ETFs Number of constituents Short description
MSCI Emerging Markets Emerging Markets
South Korea: 11.94%
(29/05/2020)
12 ETFs 1,387
(30/09/20)
The MSCI Emerging Markets index tracks stocks from emerging markets worldwide.
Index factsheet
ETF
ISIN
  Fund size
in m GBP
TER
in %
Use of profits Fund domicile Replication method
Xtrackers MSCI Emerging Markets UCITS ETF 1CIE00BTJRMP35 2,338 0.20% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Optimized sampling
iShares MSCI EM UCITS ETF (Dist)IE00B0M63177 1,850 0.18% p.a. Distributing Ireland Optimized sampling
Amundi ETF MSCI Emerging Markets UCITS ETF USDLU1681045453 1,437 0.20% p.a. Accumulating Luxembourg Unfunded swap
UBS ETF (LU) MSCI Emerging Markets UCITS ETF (USD) A-disLU0480132876 1,303 0.22% p.a. Distributing Luxembourg Optimized sampling
Xtrackers MSCI Emerging Markets Swap UCITS ETF 1CLU0292107645 817 0.49% p.a. Accumulating Luxembourg Unfunded swap
iShares MSCI EM UCITS ETF (Acc)IE00B4L5YC18 528 0.18% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Optimized sampling
Invesco MSCI Emerging Markets UCITS ETFIE00B3DWVS88 392 0.29% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Unfunded swap
ComStage MSCI Emerging Markets UCITS ETFLU0635178014 379 0.14% p.a. Distributing Luxembourg Unfunded swap
SPDR MSCI Emerging Markets UCITS ETFIE00B469F816 319 0.42% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Optimized sampling
HSBC MSCI Emerging Markets UCITS ETF USDIE00B5SSQT16 260 0.15% p.a. Distributing Ireland Optimized sampling
Amundi Index MSCI Emerging Markets UCITS ETF DR EUR (D)LU1737652583 225 0.20% p.a. Distributing Luxembourg Full replication
Lyxor MSCI Emerging Markets UCITS ETF - Acc USDFR0010435297 91 0.55% p.a. Accumulating France Unfunded swap
 
Index   1 month
in %
3 months
in %
6 months
in %
1 year
in %
3 years
in %
MSCI Emerging Markets -0.03% 9.80% 6.25% 3.41% 3.17%
Index   2020
in %
2019
in %
2018
in %
2017
in %
2016
in %
MSCI Emerging Markets -2.18% 13.94% -10.13% - -

Source: justETF.com; As of 31/08/20; Calculations in GBP based on the largest ETF of the respective index.