SWTSX - Schwab Total Stock Market Index Fund / SCHB - Schwab U.S. Broad Market Equity ETF
The mutual fund SWTSX tracks the Dow Jones U.S. Total Stock Market Index using a statistical sampling method. In total, the index contains 3,833 stocks (as of Feb 2017) and the fund holds 2,353 of those (Sept 2017). The ETF SCHB tracks the Dow Jones U.S. Broad Stock Market Index using a statistical sampling method. Its index contains 2,460 stocks (Dec 2016) and the fund holds 1,982 (Dec 2017).
The big difference is in the number of holdings, both in the index and the funds that track them. Rick Ferri wrote for Forbes in 2013:
And indeed looking at the Style Details on Morningstar for SWTSX and SCHB, SWTSX has a higher percentage of small- and micro-cap stocks:Broad market indexes are not total market indexes. They leave out many micro-cap stocks, which are the smallest companies that trade on stock exchanges. Broad market indexes only include securities with reasonable size and liquidity so that they can be purchased in an institutional size portfolio. Many micro-cap securities don’t trade with enough volume to be efficiently included in products such as index funds and exchange-traded funds (ETF).
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Giant / Large / Medium / Small / Micro SWTSX 41.54 / 29.81 / 19.14 / 7.10 / 2.41 SCHB 41.81 / 30.51 / 19.08 / 6.85 / 1.75
It is hard to pick which one of these is the better vehicle for broad exposure to U.S. equity markets. The differentiator may well be whether the investor prefers the mutual fund or ETF wrapper more than anything else. Personally I use SWTSX because I was not aware of ETFs when I began investing, and now I have a sizable position in the fund. If I were starting again today, I would lean towards SCHB for the tax efficiency, but I also have a dedicated tilt to small (and value) that captures some of the exposure that SCHB is missing.
SWISX - Schwab International Index Fund / SCHF - Schwab International Equity ETF
The mutual fund SWISX tracks MSCI EAFE Index, and the prospectus does not state that a statistical sampling technique is used. The index includes stocks from 21 countries, and the fund holds 950 stocks (as of Sept 2017). The ETF SCHF tracks FTSE Developed ex US Index using a statistical sampling technique. The index includes stocks from 24 countries and holds 1,479; the fund holds 1,298 of those (as of Dec 2017).
Comparing the condensed portfolio holdings from each's most recent annual report, SCHF includes Canada and Republic of Korea while SWISX does not. (That only accounts for 23 countries, rather than the 24 listed in the prospectus. The SCHF listing matches the latest index factsheet posted on FTSE's website. The Bogleheads Wiki page seems to indicate that Greece used to be in this index but is no longer).
Additionally, SCHF has a higher allocation to medium-sized companies than SWTSX:
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Giant / Large / Medium / Small / Micro SWISX 59.07 / 34.24 / 6.65 / 0.03 / 0.00 SCHF 56.04 / 33.56 / 10.32 / 0.05 / 0.02
One consideration, though, is if the investor is pairing one of these funds with an emerging markets fund. If paired with SCHE - Schwab Emerging Markets Equity ETF, that is based on FTSE Emerging Index and does not include South Korea. But if the investor is using FNDE - Schwab Fundamental Emerging Markets Large Company Index ETF, that tracks Russell RAFI Emerging Markets Large Co. Index which does include South Korea. That means using SCHF+FNDE could slightly overweight Korean exposure.
Schwab's two pairs of broad equity funds are similar in spirit but have some noticeable differences under-the-hood. All are low-cost and can be used to construct a well-diversified portfolio, but tax considerations could make the ETFs more attractive to some investors. Choosing either should not materially affect the outcomes for a disciplined buy-and-hold investor. In addition, both sets of funds would make good tax-loss harvesting pairs, since they track different indexes and would not be considered "substantially identical."