ETF holdings mismatch compared to index

Hi all,

I’m new to investing in ETFs so apologies for the simple question (my first post too)

As mentioned in the post above the FTSE All-World index is made up of over 4000 companies. But when I look at the holdings for the ETF it only shows 1890 equities.

Where are all the other 2000+ equities? Are they made up in the ‘others’ that make up 0.4%?

Thanks in advance.

Hi, thank you for getting in touch. The amount of equities differs as FWRG is a synthetic ETF.

While a synthetic ETF will still aim to replicate the performance of the index it is tracking, it does not achieve this by buying all the stocks (or bonds) in the underlying index, as with a “physical” ETF. Instead, a synthetic ETF will enter into a deal with a counterparty (usually a bank) who agrees to swap the returns of the index with the returns from the basket of assets which the ETF holds.

Please see more information in our FAQ What are Synthetic ETFs? – InvestEngine

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Thanks for your response Paul. That makes sense. I remember now, reading the key invester information reveals that type of info doesn’t it.

On a similar topic, why would the InvestEngine version of Vanguard FTSE Developed World (VHVG) not match the portfolio numbers on Vanguard’s website for the same ETF?

2047 (IE) vs 2134 (Vanguard)

FTSE Developed World UCITS ETF - Accumulation (

I thought the ETF that’s available to buy is the ONLY ‘VHVG’ so would have thought they’d be identical


My understanding of FWRG is that it is not synthetic. It uses physical replication, but rather than investing in every single stock, it uses sampling. Sampling can help fund providers keep their transaction fees down.

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Not sure that’s quite correct - even physical ETF’s may not own every stock. They aim to match the performance of the index. In this particular index many of the stocks will be a very small percentage of the index - so by omitting some there is very little danger of creating significant tracking error - especially if some are correlated. It will also keep trading costs down by having lower number of stocks - which should help tracking the index performance

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This ETF uses sampling. It helps keep the costs low. You worn own everything but it should closely match the performance of the index minus fees.