Missing from XIU are no less than eight stocks listed on the TSX amongst the 60 largest by market cap according to GlobeInvestor as of close of business September 1st:
- Newmont Mining (symbol: NMC) in 13th spot by market cap
- Great West Lifeco (GWO) 18th,
- Power Financial (PWF) 28th
- Boliden AB (BLS) 29th
- Domtar Canada Paper (UFX - that's what GlobeInvestor says, though maybe it should be UFS) 32nd
- IGM Financial (IGM) 45th
- Ivanhoe Mines (IVN) 51st
- Fairfax Financial (FFH) 52nd
That's why such small companies as Inmet Mining and Yellow Pages Income Fund, neither in even in the top 100 by market cap, show up in the 60 Index.
In contrast, another ETF which weights its stocks by size according to fundamental economic factors, the Claymore Canadian Fundamental Index ETF (symbol CRQ), has a substantially larger allocation to financial services - about 45% lately.
For an investor seeking to mirror the sector weighting of the overall Canadian economy, XIU comes closer than CRQ, since Financial services (including two other sectors - Real Estate and Management) make up only 20% of Canadian GDP (2008 figures - see Industry Canada data here).
The fact that CRQ's weighting scheme is based on actual historical accounting data, i.e. hard numbers, shows to what extent publicly-traded stocks in Canada are comprised of the financial industry. Private companies must thus make up a disproportionate share of other economic sectors. The Canadian public market is lop-sided.
For an investor seeking to go where the money is, or has been in the recent past, in terms of dividends, cash flow, sales and book equity, then CRQ comes closer than XIU since that is the basis on which CRQ picks stocks.
But to say that XIU is a totally passive fund, which therefore conforms best to an ideal, is not really true. XIU is not inherently superior to CRQ. Choosing XIU or CRQ comes down to which alternative investment strategy works best - XIU's strategy being based loosely on market cap (which in turn is based on the market's opinion of relative future value) and CRQ's based on past results being maintained in future. Which strategy works best is a matter of practical investigation.
Just finished a chat with a very pleasant gentleman at S&P Canada who said that the financial companies in the above list were indeed excluded to keep the financial sector weight in line with the TSX Composite Index. Three others - Newmont, Boliden and Domtar - are not Canadian companies, a criteria which also forms part of the index composition. The last, Ivanhoe, has too small a float. iShares needs to improve its inaccurate summary description to include the fact that aligning to Composite sector weights is a criteria and that only Canadian registered companies, not merely TSX-listed companies, are included in the S&P TSX 60 / XIU.