Cambria’s Game-Changing no Expense Ratio ETF Debuts

The old Wall Street maxim about there being no such thing as a free lunch remains true, but the exchange traded funds industry has done an excellent job of delivering to investors plenty of low fee lunches.

Mebane Faber’s Cambria Funds takes the low fee concept a step further with Wednesday’s debut of the Cambria Global Asset Allocation ETF (NYSEArca: GAA). The Cambria Global Asset Allocation ETF, an actively managed ETF of ETFs, does not charge investors an annual fee. Rather, investors pay total fund operating expenses of 0.29%, which works out to be the average expense ratio on the 29 ETFs held by the new Cambria fund. [Finally a Free ETF]

Still, at 0.29% of assets, or $29 a year on a $10,000 investment, GAA is sporting costs that are paltry compared to many actively managed mutual funds and low compared to most actively managed ETFs as well.

“Most of Wall Street charges far too much and delivers far too little,” said Faber in a statement. “Our goal is to provide low-cost alternatives to traditional buy-and-hold portfolios.”

Part of Cambria’s costs are offset by GAA owning several of the ETF’s four pre-existing ETFs, including a 4% allocation to the Cambria Global Value ETF (NYSEArca: GVAL). GVAL, which debuted earlier this year, is one of GAA’s top-10 holdings.

GAA is comprised of other underlying ETFs and seeks to replicate a true global market portfolio, investing in a basket of U.S. and foreign equities, bonds, real estate, commodities, and currencies, according to the statement. The 29 ETFs held by GAA, which are mostly Vanguard and iShares funds, give investors exposure to over 20,000 individual securities, according to Cambria.

GAA’s current asset allocation breakdown is 50% to bonds, 43% to equities and 7% to commodities. In addition to GVAL, GAA’s other top-10 holdings include the Vanguard Total International Bond ETF (NYSEArca: BNDX), Vanguard Total Bond Market ETF (NYSEArca: BND), Vanguard FTSE Emerging Markets ETF (NYSEArca: VWO), iShares MSCI USA Momentum Factor ETF (NYSEArca: MTUM) and the Vanguard Total Stock Market ETF (NYSEArca: VTI).