Fidelity, the financial services firm most known for its actively managed mutual funds and dominating presence in the 401(k) arena, launched 10 sector exchange traded funds on Thursday. Although Fidelity previously sponsored one ETF, Thursday’s launches mark the firm’s first deep foray into ETFs.
While the Fidelity sector funds do not differ dramatically from rival products offered by State Street Global Advisors and Vanguard, at least part of the big news is fees. As in Fidelity’s 10 sector ETFs each charge 0.12% per year, lower than the 0.14% charged by most of the Vanguard sector funds. [Fidelity Sector ETFs Could Challenge Vanguard]
Some market observers see the potential for Fidelity to make a splash in the ETF business.
“While a new entrant into the crowded but growing ETF market hardly warrants headlines, we think Fidelity’s strong asset management and self-directed portal brand will contribute to these ETFs impacting the financial services landscape in a number of ways,” said S&P Capital IQ in a new research note.
While Fidelity faces plenty of competition for investors’ assets allocated to sector ETFs, these funds have been increasingly popular with investors. Additionally, Fidelity has long-standing asset-gathering success with its actively managed sector mutual funds.
U.S. sector exchange traded products have been extremely popular thus far in 2013, with $26.6 billion of fresh money going to these offerings in the first nine months, said S&P Capital IQ, citing BlackRock data.