Friday, 03 August 2018 09:42

How Zero Fees Will Change the Industry

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(New York)

It was long awaited, but still hit the market like a hammer. It was one of those things that you can prepare for over a long period, yet are inevitably shocked when it arrives. In this case, it was the long-awaited release of a zero fee index fund. Fidelity was the first to do it, and while it was anticipated, the move is likely to have far-reaching effects on the industry. For instance, one of the big changes is that large index funds will likely no longer pay licensing fees to the indexes themselves. At the same time though, indexes will proliferate for more narrow and niche areas designed to track all manner of themes. Fees will likely continue to fall, even on the more complex products.

FINSUM: Asset management is seeing a very serious race to the bottom, which is reflected in share prices lately. Two thoughts come to mind. Firstly, those with huge scale will be the big winners as the industry grows more consolidated. Secondly, how long before retirement funds seeing a reckoning and a big move out of expensive products (they are paying an average of 61 bp in fees)?

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