Niche emerging markets ETFs like ECON, GXG or BRAQ have quite high Total Expense Ratio (over 0.75% per year). If you buy and hold these ETFs for many years, the cost will quickly add up. I was thinking about buying the underlying stocks themselves rather than the ETFs since most of the underlying stocks are quoted on the US market NYSE and can be bought via a US discount broker. Say you want to invest $ 10,000, you use a cheap broker like Lightspeed which charges $ 0.40 / 100 shares, and you decide to buy the 20 underlying stocks that makes up the GXG ETF. That will cost you about 20* 0.4 = $ 8. Once you've done this, you can hold the 20 stocks for the next 10 years if you choose to do so and that would have cost you only $ 8. If you buy the GXG ETF and hold for a year only, that will cost you $ 10,000 * 0.86% = about $ 86. It will cost lot more if you hold for many years, especially if the market is going up and you could end up paying well over $ 1,000 over 10 years to hold the ETF. Am I right to say that it's a lot more cost effective to buy the underlying shares making up the ETF, rather than buying the ETF itself, or am I missing something. PS: I might only be able to buy say 15-17 of the 20 underlying stocks making up GXG if only 15-17 stocks are tradable on NYSE, but still it will give me the emerging market exposure I am looking for. Similarly for the ECON ETF, I might only be able to buy maybe 22-23 of the 27 stocks that make up 97.7% of the ETF if only 22-23 are tradable on Nyse but it does not bother me that much. I am more interested in a cost effective way to get exposure to niche emerging markets.