New to this year’s criteria was a liquidity score based on trading volume and bid/ask spreads. Additionally, Forbes scored ETFs based on their expense ratios, as well as the cost offset from securities lending.

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The majority of Vanguard’s lineup (68 out of 70 ETFs, or 97%) appeared on the list. Two newly introduced ETFs (Vanguard International High Dividend Yield ETF and Vanguard International Dividend Appreciation ETF) were the sole exceptions.

Vanguard ETFs appeared in 11 out of the 13 categories, and placed first in several categories, including Small Stocks/Special Weights, International/Diversified, Long-Term Bonds, Municipal Bonds, and International Bonds.

The following Vanguard ETFs earned a spot on this year’s list:

Best ETFs: Large-Cap Funds Stocks:

Big-Company and Diversified—6 out of 21
Big Stocks/Special WeightsBest ETFs: Small- and Mid-Cap Stocks:

Small and Midsize Companies—6 out of 19
Small Stocks/Special Weights—10 out of 44Best ETFs: Sector Funds—11 out of 93Best ETFs: International/Diversified—4 out of 21Best ETFs: Specialized International—5 out of 51Best ETFs: Currency and Commodity—0 out of 10 Best ETFs:

Short-Term Bonds—3 out of 33
Best ETFs: Medium-Term Bonds—5 out of 40Best ETFs: Long-Term Bonds—4 out of 25Best ETFs: Inflation-Proof Bonds—1 out of 10Best ETFs: Municipal Bonds—1 out of 25Best ETFs: International Bonds—2 out of 11Best ETFs: Stock and Bond Mixes—0 out of 6


Forbes magazine is not affiliated with Vanguard or Vanguard funds. The article mentioned here is neither an offer to sell nor a solicitation of an offer to buy shares.

All investing is subject to risk, including the possible loss of the money you invest.

Past performance is not a guarantee of future results.

Prices of mid- and small-cap stocks often fluctuate more than those of large-company stocks.

Funds and ETFs that concentrate on a relatively narrow market sector face the risk of higher share-price volatility.

Investments in stocks issued by non-U.S. companies are subject to risks including country/regional risk and currency risk. These risks are especially high in emerging markets.

Investments in bonds are subject to interest rate, credit, and inflation risk.

Vanguard Total International Bond ETF is subject to currency hedging risk, which is the chance that currency hedging transactions may not perfectly offset the ETF’s foreign currency exposures and may eliminate any chance for an ETF to benefit from favorable fluctuations in relevant currency exchange rates. The ETF will incur expenses to hedge its currency exposures.

The Emerging Markets Government Bond ETF is subject to the risk that an issuer will fail to make payments on time, and that bond prices will decline because of rising interest rates or negative perceptions of an issuer’s ability to make payments. The ETF seeks to track the performance of an index that measures the investment return of dollar-denominated bonds issued by governments of emerging market countries (including government agencies and government-owned corporations). Because the ETF invests only in U.S. dollar-denominated bonds, U.S.-based shareholders are not subject to currency risk. The Emerging Markets Government Bond ETF is subject to risks including country/regional risk, which is the chance that political upheaval, financial troubles, or natural disasters will adversely affect the value of securities issued by foreign governments, and emerging market risk, which is the chance that bonds of governments located in emerging markets will be substantially more volatile and substantially less liquid than the bonds of governments located in more developed foreign markets.

Vanguard ETF Shares are not redeemable with the issuing Fund other than in very large aggregations worth millions of dollars. Instead, investors must buy and sell Vanguard ETF Shares in the secondary market and hold those shares in a brokerage account. In doing so, the investor may incur brokerage commissions and may pay more than net asset value when buying and receive less than net asset value when selling.