“And ETFs are cheaper – much cheaper – than actually managed mutual funds,” said Zamansky, adding that broker-sold mutual funds can also have sales commissions that layer on extra fees.

“Wall Street has simply screwed up so many times over the past 12 years that it is ruining its relationship with the investing public,” he wrote. “So, will brokers soon be obsolete like dinosaurs?”

Indeed, in the financial advisory business, the shift to fee-based compensation has helped fuel the rise of low-cost ETFs.

“For the most part, this transition has been a benefit to the general investing public as it has removed much of the inherent conflict from the days of transactional stockbrokers,” Josh Brown at the Reformed Broker explained in a WSJ blog post. “High-cost products like A-share mutual funds with 5% sales loads are also waning in popularity as more clients become advisory versus brokerage and more practitioners utilize ETFs on their behalf – vehicles without sales loads of any kind that also tend to carry lower internal expense ratios.” [Shift to Fee-Based Advisor Model Supports ETFs]

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