ETF Trends
ETF Trends

A cornerstone of the exchange traded fund industry’s disruptive, game-changing nature has been low fees. ETF providers have been able to pilfer assets from their actively managed mutual fund counterparts not only because an alarming percentage of actively managed funds lag benchmarks, but also because those funds charge gaudy fees for the privilege of sub-par returns.

Over the years, ETF issuers have moved from challenging mutual fund providers on fees to broadening the fee war within the ETF business itself. With competition increasingly intense in the ETF business, issuers, including some of the largest, have not shied away from reducing investors’ costs. [iShares Lowers Fees on 24 ETFs]

So familiar has ETF fee-cutting become that some industry observers have speculated that it is only a matter of time before a no fee ETF comes to market. That moment is nearly here as Mebane Faber’s Cambria Funds is expected to launch the Cambria Global Asset Allocation ETF on Wednesday.

The new ETF, which will be structured as an ETF of ETFs, will trade under the ticker “GAA.” California-based Cambria “won’t charge any fees to manage a portfolio that will mostly hold funds from big-name providers such as Vanguard Group and BlackRock’s iShares unit. Investors will pay only the expenses of the underlying ETFs, which will average about 0.29% of assets, or $29 a year on a $10,000 investment,” reports Karen Damato for the Wall Street Journal.

Faber told the Journal the new ETF could cost the firm $100,000 per year, but added that could take just a month or two before Cambria starts breaking even on the fund. The Journal reports that Cambria will make some money on GAA off the bat because the new ETF will allocate 9% of its weight to three Cambria’s four currently existing ETFs.

Those actively managed products include the Cambria Shareholder Yield ETF (NYSEArca: SYLD), Cambria Foreign Shareholder Yield ETF (NYSEArca: FYLD), Cambria Global Value ETF (NYSEArca: GVAL) and the newly minted Cambria Global Momentum ETF (NYSEArca: GMOM).

GAA is not Cambria’s first foray into the ETF of ETFs structure. GMOM, which debuted in early November, holds 17 ETFs, mostly from iShares and Vanguard, “which represent the top 33% of a universe of approximately 50 ETFs. The holdings are selected on measures of trailing momentum and trend. By sorting through a basket of domestic and foreign stocks, bonds, real estate, commodities and currencies, the strategy targets aggressive returns while still managing risk and volatility,” according to Cambria.

ETF Trends editorial team contributed to this post.

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.