4 min read
By Beqa Bumbeishvili, ETF Insider


In the world of finance, ETFs have become an incredibly popular method for investors to diversify their portfolios without having to purchase multiple individual stocks. Among the most debated comparisons in this realm is EFA vs IWM. These two ETFs, while both offering unique opportunities, cater to different markets and strategies. In this article, we'll dive deep into the differences and similarities between EFA and IWM to help you make a more informed investment decision.

EFA VS IWM: Sectors and Top Holdings

When you're considering an investment, understanding the sectors and top holdings is paramount. For EFA (iShares MSCI EAFE ETF), the focus is on developed markets outside of North America, specifically Europe, Australasia, and the Far East. Its top holdings lean towards financial services, healthcare, and consumer goods.
On the other hand, IWM (iShares Russell 2000 ETF) concentrates on small-cap US companies. These are businesses that, while smaller in market capitalization, often have higher growth potential. IWM’s dominant sectors include healthcare, financial services, and technology.
If you're someone looking to invest in established markets outside North America, EFA might be your go-to. However, if you're aiming to capture potential growth from smaller, rising American companies, IWM should be on your radar.

EFA overlap EFA VS IWMEFA overlap EFA VS IWM

EFA VS IWM: Capitalization strategy

Capitalization plays a pivotal role in how these ETFs are structured and their potential risks and rewards. EFA, as already mentioned, focuses on large-cap companies from developed markets. These are typically stable, well-established businesses that may not offer rapid growth but can provide steady returns and dividends.
IWM, conversely, is all about the small-cap space in the US. Investing in small-cap companies comes with its set of risks, as they can be more volatile and less stable than their large-cap counterparts. However, the rewards can also be significant. Small-cap companies can offer substantial growth opportunities, especially if they are in emerging industries or have innovative products.

EFA VS IWM: Tracking and Exposure

EFA tracks the MSCI EAFE Index. When you invest in EFA, you're essentially getting exposure to top companies from 21 developed markets excluding the US and Canada. This offers a broad diversification across many economies and sectors.
On the flip side, IWM tracks the Russell 2000 Index, offering exposure to around 2,000 small-cap US companies. This means when you invest in IWM, you're banking on the performance of these smaller American firms, hoping that they'll grow and provide solid returns over time.


The choice between EFA and IWM boils down to your investment goals, risk tolerance, and desired market exposure. If you're looking for stability and diversification across multiple developed economies,
EFA is an appealing choice. However, if you're more risk-tolerant and are aiming for potentially higher growth by betting on the future stars of the American market, IWM is worth considering.
Both ETFs offer distinct advantages. By understanding their strategies, sectors, and capitalization focus, you can make an informed choice that aligns with your financial objectives.


  1. iShares Official Website
  2. MSCI Indexes
  3. Russell 2000 Index Official Information

EFA ETF issuer
EFA ETF official page

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