Fidelity Fires Back in Ongoing ETF Fee War

December 15th at 6:17am by Tom Lydon

Exchange traded funds have been touted for lower fees, especially in comparison to traditional index funds. The ongoing fee war between ETF providers and mutual funds has taken a turn, as index fund providers have fought back with Fidelity Investments leading the charge.

Fidelity has announced that they are cutting fees on 22 of its mutual funds, including the Spartan series, and will lower the minimum investment requirement to invest in the share classes, reports Christopher Condon for Bloomberg. Most minimum investments begin around $100,000, but will allow beginning balances as low as $10,000, reports Dan Caplinger for The Motley Fool.

“These latest moves are another example of our commitment to providing workplace retirement plan sponsors and individual investors access to a wide-array of high-quality index funds at some of the most competitive pricing in the industry,” J.S. Wynant, Fidelity’s executive vice president for product management and research, said. [ETF 'Fee-War' Spills Over to Index Funds]

The Spartan 500 Index Fund is the fifth-largest mutual fund in the U.S. with $48.5 billion in assets under management. Fidelity’s $16.2 billion Spartan U.S. Bond Index Fund is the fourth-biggest U.S. index fixed-income mutual fund.

Some of the largest ETF providers have cut fees over the past three months, as they jockey to gain industry assets. BlackRock’s iShares, Charles Schwab and Vanguard have led the charge in offering high quality ETFs at a discount price. According to the Investment Company Institute, investors have put $536 billion into ETFs since 2010, compared to $306 billion in traditional mutual funds over the same time period. [Schwab Mulls Over Commission-Free ETF Platform: Report]

Fidelity’s press release reported that the cuts were in response to larger institutions and retirement plans adjustments first and foremost and the individual investor’s demands came in second. [The Darker Side of the ETF Fee War]

The drop in fees that has started within the mutual fund industry could be the start of a new trend. However, these cuts are not enough to dissuade ETF investors and put a dent in assets. [Investors Come out on Top in ETF Fee War]

Tisha Guerrero contributed to this article.

The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.

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