Most Popular ETFs by AUM

Most Popular ETFs by AUM

We highlight the top 10 most popular ETFs, as measured by highest AUM.

kent
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Research Lead
Reviewed by: Kent Thune
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Edited by: Kent Thune

The most popular ETFs are generally those with the highest assets under management (AUM), which is the total value of assets that an ETF manages on behalf of its investors. ETFs with the highest AUM also happen to be among the best ETFs with the lowest expense ratios

Why Some of the Best ETFs Have the Highest AUM 

When it comes to choosing the best ETFs, AUM is a critical metric that investors should consider. 

Reasons why it's important to choose ETFs with high AUM include: 

  • Liquidity 
  • Diversification 
  • Lower costs 
  • Stability  
  • Transparency 

Liquidity 

ETFs with high AUM tend to have more liquidity than those with low AUM. Liquidity is the ease with which an investor can buy or sell an ETF without affecting its price. ETFs with high AUM have a higher trading volume, which means there are more buyers and sellers in the market, making it easier for investors to buy or sell shares.  

Conversely, ETFs with low AUM may have a lower trading volume, which can lead to wider bid/-ask spreads and lower liquidity. 

Diversification 

Diversification is the practice of spreading investments across various asset classes to reduce risk. ETFs with high AUM typically hold more securities from various sectors and regions, which can reduce an investor's exposure to any single security. This diversification can help mitigate risk and improve overall portfolio performance. 

Lower Costs 

ETFs with high AUM can benefit from economies of scale, resulting in lower management fees. As the ETF grows in size, fixed expenses such as legal and administrative costs become a smaller percentage of the fund's total expenses. As a result, ETF providers can reduce management fees, making the fund more attractive to investors. 

Stability 

High AUM is often an indicator of a fund's popularity and investor confidence in its performance. Popular ETFs attract more investors, which can lead to a more stable asset base. This stability can help reduce the risk of large redemptions or liquidations, which can be disruptive to an ETF's performance. 

Transparency 

Transparency is the degree to which an ETF provider discloses information about its holdings, performance, and strategy. High-AUM ETFs often have more resources to devote to investor education and transparency efforts. This transparency can help investors better understand the fund's strategy and make more informed investment decisions. 

Most Popular ETFs by AUM 

The most popular ETFs can be found by searching for ETFs with the highest assets under management. To choose our list of most popular ETFs, we used our ETF screener and began with the entire ETF universe of more than 3,000 ETFs, then simply sorted them by AUM from highest to lowest.

TickerFundAUMExpense Ratio10-Yr Return
SPYSPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust$363.23B0.09%12.58%
IVViShares Core S&P 500 ETF$300.18B0.03%12.64%
VTIVanguard Total Stock Market ETF$288.78B0.03%12.23%
VOOVanguard S&P 500 ETF$286.59B0.03%12.52%
QQQInvesco QQQ Trust$161.33B0.20%17.07%
VEAVanguard FTSE Developed Markets ETF$108.44B0.05%5.36%
VTVVanguard Value ETF$102.98B0.04%11.52%
IEFAiShares Core MSCI EAFE ETF$94.20B0.07%5.34%
BNDVanguard Total Bond Market ETF$88.98B0.03%1.00%
AGGiShares Core U.S. Aggregate Bond ETF$86.60B0.03%0.99%

SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust 

The SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (SPY) seeks to track the performance of the S&P 500 index, which is a cap-weighted basket of the largest publicly traded companies in the U.S. SPY is the oldest ETF listed on a U.S. exchange and is the largest ETF as measured by AUM. 

  • Expense ratio: 0.09% 
  • Assets under management: $363.23B 
  • 10-year return: 12.58% 
  • As of date: January 31, 2023 

iShares Core S&P 500 ETF 

The iShares Core S&P 500 ETF (IVV) seeks to track the performance of the S&P 500 index. On the market since 2000, IVV is not only one of the largest ETFs on the market, it’s also one of the oldest, with one of the lowest expense ratios. 

  • Expense ratio: 0.03% 
  • Assets under management: $300.18B 
  • 10-year return: 12.64% 
  • As of date: January 31, 2023 

Vanguard Total Stock Market ETF 

The Vanguard Total Stock Market ETF (VTI) seeks to track the performance of the CRSP US Total Market Index, which is a cap-weighted index that measures the investable U.S. equities market, encompassing the entire market-cap spectrum. VTI can be a good choice for investors looking for comprehensive market equity exposure that leans more toward large caps than mid and small caps. 

  • Expense ratio: 0.03% 
  • Assets under management: $288.78B 
  • 10-year return: 12.23% 
  • As of date: January 31, 2023 

Vanguard S&P 500 ETF 

The Vanguard S&P 500 ETF (VOO) seeks to track the performance of the S&P 500 index. VOO can be a good choice for investors looking for pure exposure to U.S. stocks. Investors should note that VOO allocates nearly 25% of the portfolio to the top 10 holdings. 

  • Expense ratio: 0.03% 
  • Assets under management: $286.59B 
  • 10-year return: 12.52% 
  • As of date: January 31, 2023 

Invesco QQQ Trust 

The Invesco QQQ Trust (QQQ) tracks a modified -market-cap-weighted index of 100 NASDAQ-listed stocks. Often referred to as “the triple Q’s,” the fund only invests in nonfinancial stocks listed on NASDAQ, which makes this ETF’s portfolio lean heavily toward technology stocks. 

  • Expense ratio: 0.20% 
  • Assets under management: $161.33B 
  • 10-year return: 17.07% 
  • As of date: January 31, 2023 

Vanguard FTSE Developed Markets ETF 

The Vanguard FTSE Developed Markets ETF (VEA) tracks a market-cap-weighted index of large, mid and small cap stocks from developed markets outside the U.S. This ETF holds over 4,000 stocks of companies with the greatest regional exposure to Europe and Asia-Pacific. 

  • Expense ratio: 0.05% 
  • Assets under management: $108.44B 
  • 10-year return: 5.36% 
  • As of date: January 31, 2023 

Vanguard Value ETF 

The Vanguard Value ETF (VTV) tracks the CRSP U.S. Large Cap Value Index, which includes stocks from the top 85% of market capitalization based on multiple value factors. To determine value, VTV's index uses P/B, forward P/E, historic P/E, dividend-to-price and sales-to-price ratios.  

  • Expense ratio: 0.04% 
  • Assets under management: $102.98B 
  • 10-year return: 11.52% 
  • As of date: January 31, 2023 

iShares Core MSCI EAFE ETF 

The iShares Core MSCI EAFE ETF (IEFA) tracks a market-cap-weighted index of developed-market stocks in Europe, Australasia and the Far East, and excludes North America. It covers about 98% of investable markets. This means that IEFA offers broad, unbiased coverage of equities in developed international countries, excluding U.S. and Canada. 

  • Expense ratio: 0.07% 
  • Assets under management: $94.20B 
  • 10-year return: 5.34% 
  • As of date: January 31, 2023 

Vanguard Total Bond Market ETF  

The Vanguard Total Bond Market ETF (BND) seeks to track the Bloomberg US Aggregate Float-Adjusted Index, which is a market-value-weighted index of U.S. dollar-denominated, investment-grade, taxable, fixed income securities with maturities of at least one year. With over 10,000 securities in the portfolio, BND offers low -cost broad exposure to the U.S. bond market. 

  • Expense ratio: 0.03% 
  • Assets under management: $88.98B 
  • 10-year return: 1.00% 
  • As of date: January 31, 2023 

iShares Core U.S. Aggregate Bond ETF 

The iShares Core U.S. Aggregate Bond ETF (AGG) seeks to track the performance of the Bloomberg U.S. Aggregate Bond Index, which is composed of the total U.S. bond market. Thus, AGG offers investors a low -cost broadly diversified fund that averages investment-grade credit risk and intermediate-term duration in the holdings. 

  • Expense ratio: 0.03% 
  • Assets under management: $86.60B 
  • 10-year return: 0.99% 
  • As of date: January 31, 2023 

Bottom Line 

The most popular ETFs are generally those with the highest AUM. Choosing ETFs with high AUM can offer several benefits to investors, including increased liquidity, diversification, lower costs, stability and transparency. However, investors should not rely solely on AUM as a metric to evaluate ETFs.  

Other factors, such as the ETF's investment strategy and performance history, should also be considered when researching ETFs. Ultimately, investors should do their due diligence and choose ETFs that align with their investment goals, risk tolerance, and overall portfolio strategy. 

Kent Thune is Research Lead for etf.com, focusing on educational content, thought leadership, content management and search engine optimization. Before joining etf.com, he wrote for numerous investment websites, including Seeking Alpha and Kiplinger. 

 

Kent holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree and is a practicing Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) with 25 years of experience managing investments, guiding clients through some of the worst economic and market environments in U.S. history. He has also served as an adjunct professor, teaching classes for The College of Charleston and Trident Technical College on the topics of retirement planning, business finance, and entrepreneurship. 

 

Kent founded a registered investment advisory firm in 2006 and is based in Hilton Head Island, SC, where he lives with his wife and two sons. Outside of work, Kent enjoys spending time with his family, playing guitar, and working on his philosophy book, which he plans to publish in the coming year.