XBAL vs VBAL: Deciding Between Balanced ETFs

The main difference between the XBAL and VBAL is that XBAL is part of the iShares fund family and primarily consists of other iShares ETFs holding securities spanning Canadian, American and international markets, while VBAL is a Vanguard fund that holds other Vanguard ETFs comprised of equity and fixed income securities of Canadian, American and international companies.

While the compositions look different for both ETFs, they share a common investment objective:

To provide investors with exposure to a globally diversified equity and fixed income portfolio that offers both long-term capital growth and income generation.

  • Ability to purchase XBAL and VBAL in Canada
  • Low commissions
  • Trusted trading platform for Canadians


Established in 2007, the iShares Core Balanced ETF Portfolio (XBAL) offers investors exposure to diverse asset classes and regions within a single package.

XBAL is comprised of equity and fixed income holdings.

Since inception, XBAL has offered 5.16% annualized growth, including 6.75% in the last 5 years and 5.60% in the last 10 years as of February 29, 2024.


Established much more recently in 2018, the Vanguard Balanced ETF Portfolio (VBAL) is part of the Vanguard fund family and has assets under management of $2.65 billion as of February 29, 2024.

Similar to its counterpart XBAL, the ETF has all of its exposure in equities and fixed income, with a very small remaining balance held in cash.

Since its inception, VBAL has delivered 5.37% annualized growth, including 6.27% in the last 5 years as of February 29, 2024.

Performance: XBAL vs. VBAL

XBAL Annualized Performance as of February 29, 2024:

  • 1-Year: 12.43%
  • 3-Year: 4.57%
  • 5-Year: 6.75%
  • Since Inception: 5.16%

VBAL Annualized Performance as of February 29, 2024:

  • 1-Year: 11.86%
  • 3-Year: 3.97%
  • 5-Year: 6.27%
  • Since Inception: 5.37%



XBAL has a Management Expense Ratio (MER) of 0.20% which is largely comprised of its 0.18% management fee.

VBAL has a Management Expense Ratio (MER) of 0.24% which is largely comprised of its 0.22% management fee.


Below are the top holdings within both XBAL and VBAL:


  • iShares Core S&P Total US Stock (26.91%)
  • iShares Core Canadian Universe Bond Index ETF (25.53%)
  • iShares MSCI EAFE IMI Index (15.02%)
  • iShares S&P/TSX Capped Composite (14.81%)
  • iShares Core Canadian Short Term Corporate Bond Index (6.38%)
  • iShares US Treasury Bond ETF (4.01%)
  • iShares Broad USD Investment Grade Corporate Bond Index (4.01%)
  • iShares Core MSCI Emerging Markets IMI Index ETF (3.01%)
  • USD Cash (1.25%)

As of March 25, 2024


  • Vanguard US Total Market Index ETF (27.42%)
  • Vanguard Canadian Aggregate Bond Index ETF (23.13%)
  • Vanguard FTSE Canada All Cap Index ETF (17.92%)
  • Vanguard FTSE Developed All Cap ex North America Index ETF (11.38%)
  • Vanguard Global ex-US Aggregate Bond Index ETF CAD-Hedged (8.21%)
  • Vanguard US Aggregate Bond Index ETF CAD-Hedged (7.80%)
  • Vanguard FTSE Emerging Markets All Cap Index ETF (4.13%)

As of February 29, 2024

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Does VBAL pay a dividend?
  • What are the total fees for VBAL?
  • Is VBAL a good investment?
Harshil Dhanky

Harshil Dhanky is a financial services professional based out of Toronto, Ontario with extensive experience in the Canadian banking industry across Toronto, Calgary, and Vancouver in the capital markets, asset management, and lending sectors.

In the past, Harshil has worked with a range of consumer lending websites, personal finance advisors, investment managers, insurance companies, and other financial institutions to write and edit whitepapers, articles, blog posts, and other collateral read by consumer audiences to help them make better financial decisions.

His work spans a wide range of Canadian personal finance topics including savings and retirement programs, debt management tips, mortgages and personal loans, and other key financial issues for Canadian consumers at each stage of their life.