ETFs Or LICs For Doctors?

Yves SchoofBusiness

These days many doctors ask me whether it is better to invest in ETF’s or LICs.

LICs and ETFs are similar in that they allow you to invest in a diverse portfolio of companies in one transaction.

Both investment products are very transparent, as you can clearly identify the underlying investment holdings, and the price is quoted on the stock exchange. This also makes it very easy to trade them.

However there are some key differences that you need to be aware of.


  • LICs do not aim to track specific share market indices, but rather to outperform them. ETFs usually do track an index. For example, they might track a broad-based market index such as Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 or the S&P 500 in the United States. Or they might track a narrow and specific index such as Healthcare or Real Estate Investment Trusts.

As such, your investment philosophy may determine what product you prefer.


  • ETFs cover a broader range of asset classes than LICs. For example, there are ETFs that invest specifically in domestic shares, international shares, fixed-income products, foreign currencies, precious metals, commodities and agricultural products.

To build a truly diversified portfolio, you may thus need to use some ETFs at least.


  • LIC portfolios are constructed using physical stocks (actual shares). So too are ETFs, but not always. Some ETFs (referred to as synthetic ETFs) use derivatives in their portfolios. These simulate the returns that would have been achieved by a portfolio constructed purely from physical securities. The use of derivatives introduces an additional layer of risk. Be mindful of this when you build your portfolio.


  • ETF management fees are typically lower than LIC management fees, due to their typically passive investment strategy.


ETFs and LICs are not mutually exclusive, but it is also important to note that very few active managers (including LIC managers) outperform the benchmark return (including ETF’s) consistently.


If you wanted to get specific investment advice, please feel free to contact me on 0432 885 295 or

Yves Schoof
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Yves Schoof

Author | Specialist Adviser for Medical Specialists and Surgeons at Affluence Private Wealth
I specialise in managing and coordinating the financial affairs of medical professionals and have been recognised as one of the best financial planners in Australia. I am a Certified Financial Planner and member of the Financial Planning Association of Australia.

As I understand your time is extremely valuable and scarce, I am able to offer flexible meetings times, including outside business hours and during the weekend. I can even come and meet you somewhere convenient, or talk via videoconference on Skype.

My first consultation is free. I allocate up to 90 minutes to discuss your personal circumstances and to establish how I may best assist you. Where you already have an existing adviser, I would be happy to offer a second opinion. I always quote a fixed dollar fee before we start working together.

Please contact me on or call me direct on 0432 885 295. You can follow me on Twitter @YvesSchoof or connect with me on LinkedIn to receive new articles.

Yves Schoof and Affluence Private Wealth are Authorised Representatives of Synchron, AFS Licence No. 243313. 

The information posted is intended to be general in nature and is not personal financial product advice. It does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs.
Before acting on any information, you should consider the appropriateness of the information provided and the nature of the relevant financial product having regard to your objectives, financial situation and needs. In particular, you should seek independent financial advice and read the relevant product disclosure statement (PDS) or other offer document prior to making a decision.
Yves Schoof
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