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Q: This is a follow up to my question about EM ETFs.

The way I see it, XEC holds only IEMG, but in Canadian funds. With XEC, there are 2 layers of foreign withholding taxes, one from the EM countries, and one from the US, neither of which are recoverable. This amounts to up to 27.75% (15% + 15% of the remaining 85%) withholding taxes on dividends, none of which are not recoverable.

With IEMG, the US withholding taxes are recoverable, so the total withholding taxes are up to 15%. That is a significant difference.

The same holds for VEE (holds only VWO).

ZEM looks like it holds about 15% US based ETFs, and the rest are direct holdings. That means that the withholding taxes are mostly recoverable (4.16% are non recoverable (from 15% of the holding times 27.75% from the above calculation), but the rest may be, depending on the treaties Canada has with each EM country).

Is this correct reasoning?

If it is correct, are there any other EM ETFs that have mostly direct holdings in addition to ZEM? Also, why would you recommend XEC over IEMG and VEE over VWO, especially considering the lower MER for IEMG and VWO?

If my reasoning is not correct, why, and which ETFs would be best from a taxation perspective?

Thanks, and I hope my question is clear,


Read Answer Asked by Federico on August 09, 2019

Q: I am wondering if any of the following do not hold all their international stocks directly (ie if they are an ETF of ETFs). I am pretty sure that XEF, IEFA, and IEMG do own all stocks directly, and I think VEE does not, but please correct me if I am wrong. I cannot seem to find information about the rest.


Thanks again,


Read Answer Asked by Federico on July 05, 2019

Q: Hello 5i
I have to increase the international component of my portfolio, according to the Analytics program. By a lot. I therefore have a couple of questions, as the analytics program gives only Canadian hedged products and I will be buying in US dollars.

First, VWO is currently 2.5 per cent of our portfolio. You often suggest that an etf should compose at least 5%. I have been hesitent with emerging markets. But, do you think that this would be a reasonable increase?

Second. Again in US dollars, I would like something to compliment this. I am thinking that it would be good to have one fund. An all the world except North America fund. In the analytics you suggest VDU. But, as I say, I am buying in US dollars. So, I am looking first of all for an etf suggestion. And secondly, whether this one stop shopping is the best approach. I have to raise about 27% in international, according to your program. I am pretty close to the US allocation, though, so don't need any US.

Read Answer Asked by joseph on May 06, 2019
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