VBK seeks to replicate a benchmark which offers exposure small cap firms that exhibit growth characteristics in the U.S. equity market. The investment thesis behind small caps is that these firms are likely to provide strong growth prospects to a portfolio and should have a much easier time growing then their large cap counterparts. However, these securities are extremely volatile and can experience large losses or gains in a very short period of time. Despite their volatility, these products should probably be in every investors' portfolio as they tend to move somewhat independently of large caps and can be a better 'pure play' on the American economy. This particular ETF, since it focuses on growth securities, has certain biases in its portfolio holdings and may not offer as much of a cross section as funds such as IWM and be more volatile as well. However, VBK does an excellent job of dividing up assets as the fund holds close to 1,000 securities in total and doesn't give any one security more than 0.6% of the total assets. Thanks to this high level of diversification and VBK's ultra-low expense ratio, the fund could make for a superb addition to portfolios of investors who are looking for small caps but are seeking a higher risk/reward profile in the space. However, it should be noted that there are several other products in the category, namely IWO, PWT, and SLYG, that offer slightly more diversification although at higher prices, potentially making them better choices for certain long-term investors.
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