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ETFs among China’s top performers

FSA looks at top performing China equity funds and finds that half of them are ETFs.


A glance at China’s top performing funds authorised for sale in Hong Kong should enliven the debate about the merits of active versus passive approaches to fund management − at least when it comes to China equity funds.

Performance data from FE for 76 China equity funds with more than a three-year track record revealed five exchange-traded funds (ETFs) among the top 10 best performing China equity products in the market. 

While the top two performers are active funds, the Allianz China A-Shares Fund and the Schroder China Equity Alpha, the next three were all ETFs. 

Under these conditions, investors in passive products appear to have a strong argument: A 50/50 chance of choosing a top 10 fund while paying lower fees. 

The three-year performance of the top 10 funds, net of fees, with the corresponding annual charges:


Fund Name

3-year return, net of fees (%)

Annual Charge (%)
Allianz China A-Shares 107.93 2.25
Schroder China Equity Alpha 105.93 2.00
HS China A Industry Top Index ETF 93.12 0.55
Harvest MSCI China A 50 Index ETF 81.22 0.60
China CES China A80 Index ETF 73.18 0.70
BlackRock China A-Shares 72.87 1.50
HS China A Share Focus 72.12 1.75
BOCHK WISE SSE 50 China Tracker ETF 66.17 0.89
CSOP FTSE China A50 ETF 65.14 0.99
JPMorgan China Pioneer 64.71 1.75
Data: FE, in US dollars, as of 28 June 2017.

As passive investments, ETFs charge lower management fees than active mutual funds. All five ETFs listed here have annual fees below 1%. 

In terms of performance before fees are deducted, the Blackrock China A-Shares fund and the HS China A Share Focus would have returned 79.4% and 79.8% on a three-year basis, respectively, which would put them in the fourth and fifth spot in our ranking, above the China CES China A80 Index ETF.  

Fees took the returns of these active funds down to 6th and 7th place.

The Allianz fund is not the most expensive on the market. That honour goes to Blackrock GF China, which charges a 2.75% annual fee and did not place in the top 10. Besides the Allianz and the Schroders funds, only three others (including another one from Allianz) have fees of 2% or higher.

Part of the Mark Allen Group.