Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Vanguard Australian Shares High Yield Fund Now Pays Distributions Quarterley, not Monthly

Vanguard has sent emails to its members notifying them to changes to one of their funds. According to an email I received on 18 April 2011, there have been two changes made to Vanguard's Australian Shares High Yield Fund:
  1. The fund will now use the FTSE ASFA Australia High Dividend Yield Index rather that Vanguard's own custom index.
  2. The fund will now pay distributions quarterly rather than monthly.
Change (1) is not a huge problem as allowing the index maker to be an independent organisation makes Vanguard more of an index tracker. If Vanguard is both the index maker and the index tracker then there is a risk of active management, whihc is not what you'd want in an organisation that preaches about the benefits of index tracking versus the problems with active management. With FTSE now managing the index I am hoping there is transparency with regards to the index holdings. Most ETFs on the Australian market now have full disclosure of holding, e.g. the iShares ETFs and the SPDR ETFs from State Street Australia. Unfortunately, Vanguard Australia's managed funds and ETFs both do not have the same level of transparency.
Change (2) is worrying as most investors would prefer more frequent distributions. Nevertheless, even though this fund's PDS claims to pay distributions monthly, in practice it only pays distributions quarterly or twice quarter anyway, so this recent change to its PDS won't change much.

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