Slideshow Best small-cap funds with lowest expenses

Published
  • May 31 2017, 3:47pm EDT

If doubts about robust economic growth are prompting some advisers and clients to take profits from the large-cap portion of portfolios – note that the S&P 500 has returned more than 8% in less than five months this year – where should savvy advisers and investors look for other options?

Small-caps could be one idea. However, the sector tends to be more volatile than large-caps and has also turned in a strong performance, meaning prices are hardly cheap.

On the expense side, there are some small-cap funds that have low expense ratios, which we defined as 1% or less for this labor-intensive asset class. (A small handful have dirt-cheap expense ratios.) Indeed, expenses are the biggest differentiator in this case, since returns for all funds listed here are separated by less than two-and-a-half-percentage points.

We also screened out any funds with less than $100 million in assets and ranked the resulting list by their five-year returns.

All data from Morningstar.

20. Hartford Small Cap Growth Y (HSLYX)

5-Yr. Return: 15.59%
Expense Ratio: 0.83%
Total Assets (millions): $964

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19. Vanguard S&P Small-Cap 600 Value ETF (VIOV)

5-Yr. Return: 15.53%
Expense Ratio: 0.20%
Total Assets (millions): $231

18. iShares S&P Small-Cap 600 Value (IJS)

5-Yr. Return: 15.53%
Expense Ratio: 0.25%
Total Assets (millions): $4,508

17. iShares S&P Small-Cap 600 Growth (IJT)

5-Yr. Return: 15.55%
Expense Ratio: 0.25%
Total Assets (millions): $4,222

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16. SPDR S&P 600 Small Cap Growth ETF (SLYG)

5-Yr. Return: 15.57%
Expense Ratio: 0.15%
Total Assets (millions): $1,255

15. SPDR S&P 600 Small Cap Value ETF (SLYV)

5-Yr. Return: 15.60%
Expense Ratio: 0.15%
Total Assets (millions): $970

14. Vanguard Tax-Managed Small Cap Adm (VTMSX)

5-Yr. Return: 15.60%
Expense Ratio: 0.09%
Total Assets (millions): $5,292

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13. SPDR S&P 600 Small Cap ETF (SLY)

5-Yr. Return: 15.61%
Expense Ratio: 0.15%
Total Assets (millions): $732

12. Vanguard S&P Small-Cap 600 ETF (VIOO)

5-Yr. Return: 15.62%
Expense Ratio: 0.15%
Total Assets (millions): $1,209

11. DFA Tax-Managed US Targeted Value (DTMVX)

5-Yr. Return: 15.62%
Expense Ratio: 0.44%
Total Assets (millions): $4,241

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10. Oppenheimer Small Cap Revenue ETF (RWJ)

5-Yr. Return: 15.68%
Expense Ratio: 0.39%
Total Assets (millions): $534

9. iShares Core S&P Small-Cap (IJR)

5-Yr. Return: 15.70%
Expense Ratio: 0.07%
Total Assets (millions): $29,659

8. Vanguard Strategic Small-Cap Equity Inv (VSTCX)

5-Yr. Return: 15.81%
Expense Ratio: 0.29%
Total Assets (millions): $1,665

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7. VALIC Company I Small Cap Agrsv Gr (VSAGX)

5-Yr. Return: 15.81%
Expense Ratio: 0.99%
Total Assets (millions): $114

6. T. Rowe Price QM US Small-Cap Gr Eq (PRDSX)

5-Yr. Return: 15.88%
Expense Ratio: 0.81%
Total Assets (millions): $4,083

5. JPMorgan Small Cap Core R5 (VSSCX)

5-Yr. Return: 16%
Expense Ratio: 0.80%
Total Assets (millions): $206

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4. Nuveen Small Cap Value I (FSCCX)

5-Yr. Return: 16.05%
Expense Ratio: 1%
Total Assets (millions): $1,428

3. TCM Small Cap Growth (TCMSX)

5-Yr. Return: 16.55%
Expense Ratio: 0.96%
Total Assets (millions): $302

2. T. Rowe Price New Horizons (PRNHX)

5-Yr. Return: 17.06%
Expense Ratio: 0.79%
Total Assets (millions): $19,123

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1. PNC Multi Factor Small Cap Core I (PLOIX)

5-Yr. Return: 17.83%
Expense Ratio: 0.85%
Total Assets (millions): $359