U.S. equity fund returns were strong in 2017, with averages advancing more than 21%. But international funds (ex-U.S.) were even bigger winners, with Vanguard’s international equity ETF surging 27.5%. The fund giant’s emerging markets equity ETF gained 31.5%.
Take note: The 20 funds listed here outperformed even those impressive benchmarks.
The results show that Asia was the place to be in 2017. Twelve of the 20 funds listed focus on China, Japan, India or South Korea. That did not preclude broader “global opportunities” or “international growth” funds from finding investments in the Far East, as well. The average return of these 20 funds for the year was 48.5%.
As is typically the case when investing in actively managed international funds, expense ratios are slightly higher compared with domestic funds, due in part to additional research by fund managers of companies that have fewer analysts following them and less robust regulatory oversight. These funds averaged 1.43% in expense ratios — with a high of more than 2%.
Scroll through to see the 20 top 2017 international fund returns among those with at least $100 million in assets. Three-year returns, expense ratios and total assets are also included for each fund. All data from Morningstar Direct.