Investors who have stuck to underperforming, costly actively managed mutual funds should switch to low-cost index exchange traded funds, according to market maven Burton Malkiel.
“You can’t control what markets can do, but you can control the costs you pay,” Malkiel writes for the Wall Street Journal in an op-ed this week. “The less you pay to the purveyors of investment services, the more there will be for you. The quintessential low-cost investment vehicles are index funds, which should comprise the core of every investment portfolio. The high fees charged for active management cannot be justified.”
Malkiel is a professor of economics at Princeton University and serves as chief investment officer at Wealthfront. He worked as a director of the Vanguard Group and is a strong proponent of index fund investments.
The financial services sector has almost doubled in size in the past three decades and fees have been rising as a percentage of assets managed. However, investors have not seen a substantial increase in returns nor improved efficiency in the markets. [Cost Matters with ETFs: Vanguard Report]
“In my judgement, investors have received no benefit from this increase in expense ratios,” Malkiel writes. “The increase in fees likely represents a deadweight loss for investors.”