Which exchange should I use to buy ETFs?

The iShares Core MSCI World ETF has 10 different listings. Which listing should you choose whenever you have access to multiple through your broker?

An ETF has multiple listings across currencies, stock exchanges and countries in order to reach more investors. A listing is an entry for a security on the stock exchange. A listing on the stock exchange has a ticker symbol which uniquely identifies it within the stock exchange.

When choosing a listing you should consider the following criteria (in order of importance): trading currency, trading fees, trading volume.

Trading currency

Trading currency is the currency in which you buy/sell the ETF. This should be not be confused with fund (denomination) currency, which is the currency in which the fund’s performance is measured.

The trading currency does not affect your returns. Therefore, you should buy ETFs in your own currency. This makes it easier/simpler to trade ETFs and minimizes currency conversion costs. If there isn’t a listing in your own currency, choose a currency that you can easily/cheaply have access to.

Trading fees

Brokers may charge you different fees depending on the stock exchange. For example, they may charge lower fees for local exchanges. You should choose the exchange that charges the lowest fees because this has a direct impact in your returns.

Trading volume

Trading volume reflects how much trading activity is happening for the ETF in the stock exchange. If there are more people buying/selling the ETF your orders may be filled quicker. Additionally you will observe slightly smaller bid-ask spreads when the trading volume is higher. You can find the trading volume in the stock exchange’s website (e.g. Euronext , London Stock Exchange) or on your broker’s interface.