This ETF offers exposure to developed markets outside of North America, an asset class that is often a core holding in many long-term, buy-and-hold portfolios. As the name suggests, EFAV focuses on stocks that have historically exhibited relatively low volatility, making this tool potentially useful as a way of scaling back overall risk within a portfolio. This ETF essentially focuses on a subset of the stocks included in products such as EFA and VEAn which are linked to a more broad-based EAFE index. The appeal of EFAV lies in the ability of investors to achieve cheap, liquid access to an investment strategy that would otherwise be both time consuming and expensive to implement. This fund offers a way to target international stocks that exhibit low volatility, meaning that in bear markets they would be expected to exhibit less downside potential compared to the broad market. That feature means that EFAV can be used as a complement in a longer-term portfolio for risk averse investors or as a more tactical tool for lowering overall risk exposure ahead of a perceived rough patch for stock markets. We might be hesitant to use EFAV as the sole source of developed international markets exposure since the portfolio is somewhat shallow, but this fund has the potential to be useful in a number of different scenarios.
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