Investing in specific factors may help investors reach their goals by helping to reduce portfolio volatility or improve returns. Factors are the persistent and well-documented asset characteristics that have historically driven investment risk and return.

Factors are not new — they have been present in portfolios for decades. But exchange traded funds (ETFs) helped to revolutionize how investors access these historically rewarded strategies by capturing the power of factors (sometimes called “smart beta”) in a transparent and cost-effective way.

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Remember how hard it used to be to book a vacation? We used to spend hours on the phone with a travel agent, then wait days, even weeks for them to work their magic. And that magic came with a high fee because only travel agents had access to the important information needed to book our vacation.


But the information that was once only available to travel agents is now available to anyone – within seconds. Travel sites have made finding the perfect hotel cheaper, faster and more efficient. The same is true for investing. For years, active managers used teams of analysts to find stocks that seemed more likely to outperform. And as an investor, you had to pay a lot in fees to access that thinking.


Many of the traits that active managers have looked for (like buying underpriced, quality stocks) are called factors. And just like you no longer need to call a travel agent to book an affordable, quality vacation, you no longer need to pay large fees for active managers to choose the right stocks based on factors. Now, you can use iShares Factor ETFs to invest in stocks that exhibit the factors that have historically driven portfolio returns. Just as travel sites use simple filters to quickly drill down to the perfect hotel, factor investing provides access to security screens that active managers have used for generations.


Thanks to data and technology, the investment ideas that once took a team of analysts months to research now takes a fraction of the time, at a fraction of the cost.


There are five factors that have historically proven to be drivers of return, and iShares offers ETFs that seek to capture all five:


There’s Quality, which identifies companies with strong and healthy balance sheets.

Minimum Volatility, or stocks that are less volatile than the broad market.

Size, which targets smaller, more nimble companies.

Momentum, which seeks stocks on an upswing.

And value, which targets stocks that are inexpensive relative to their fundamentals.


Factor ETFs deliver the power of time-tested investment screens in a low-cost and tax-efficient investment vehicle, revolutionizing access for everyday investors.


Who said finding the right securities for your portfolio was difficult? We say, it’s as easy as booking a hotel.

Explore our Factor ETFs

Single Factor smart beta ETFs
Single Factor
Multifactor smart beta ETFs
Minimum volatility smart beta ETFs
Minimum Volatility
Fixed income smart beta ETFs
Fixed Income
Factor StrategyWhat does it do?Example Products
Single Factor Targets exposure to a factor that has been a long-term driver of returns, such as:
  • Value: Stocks discounted relative to fundamentals
  • Quality: Financially healthy companies
  • Momentum: Stocks with an upward price trend
  • Size: Smaller, more nimble companies



Multifactor Seeks to provide diversified exposure to a variety of factors LRGF


Minimum Volatility Invests in a balanced portfolio of stocks that displays lower overall risk to the broad market USMV


Fixed Income Targets exposure to historically rewarded factors in fixed income securities to seek better risk-adjusted returns FIBR