Displaying items by tag: ETFs

Thursday, 02 August 2018 09:17

Fidelity Just Crossed the Line on Fees


The moment that many asset managers have been dreading has finally arrived. Fidelity announced yesterday that it was slashing prices on many of its funds, and crucially, offering two new index mutual funds with no fees and no minimums. Thus, the Rubicon has finally been crossed—the first broad index funds with zero fees, and no minimums. Many top asset management stocks fell considerably on the news. Remember that asset managers can still make money on funds with zero fees—through stock lending—but they need considerable scale to make that money meaningful.

FINSUM: It was only a matter of time before this happened. We expect Vanguard will follow suit quite soon, as will BlackRock, as lower fees have been by far the biggest selling point in the market for years.

Published in Wealth Management
Thursday, 02 August 2018 09:15

Gold Demand is Plummeting

(New York)

Those hoping the current turmoil in the technology sector may turn around the fate of gold will be upset by new data. Gold has suffered its worst start to a year in almost a decade despite the fact that the US equity market was in a correction for much of it. Now, economic data shows that demand for the shiny metal is at its lowest since 2009. The big drop in drop demand did not stem from industry, but instead from investment markets, with ETFs buying ~60% less gold in the last year than the year prior.

FINSUM: Gold is in a tough and interesting spot. On the one hand, it is easy to see why rising rates have depressed gold prices. But on the other, it seems gold have should have benefitted from all the geopolitical and market instability of this year.

Published in Comm: Precious
Wednesday, 01 August 2018 08:58

Will Tech’s Trouble Cause an ETF Meltdown?

(New York)

The FT ran an article today looking at the tech meltdown from an angle no one else is, and it is definitely worth paying attention to. Their worry is how ETF issuers are going to be able to offload shares of tech giants quickly enough to match benchmarks. For instance, Facebook lost $120 bn of market cap last week, and it will be difficult to source enough buyers to unload all that stock without roiling the market further. The overall point of the article is that trouble in tech might cause the dreaded “liquidity mismatch” issue in ETFs.

FINSUM: It seems like this problem is already rectified for last week’s fall, but the overarching argument is that any falls in FAANG stock prices are going to be exacerbated by large amounts of forced ETF selling. This could explain why the losses have been so steep.

Published in Eq: Large Cap
Wednesday, 18 July 2018 10:06

Why ETFs Won’t Meltdown in the Next Crisis

(New York)

One of the market’s big worries over the last few years has been centered around the idea that ETFs may have some sort of implosion the next time there is a Crisis, or at least some major volatility. However, S&P has just come out with a report saying that won’t be the case. The piece cites the numerous instances of when major volatility hit markets, including this past February, and ETFs held up just fine. That said, ETFs do have the potential to be distortive, and they have been implicated in some major flare ups, such as that linked to the CBOE Volatility Index this winter. S&P concluded that “There’s not much cause for concern for systemic risk … But we have been able to quantify that there’s some minimal impact”.

FINSUM: Our feeling is that equity ETFs should be fine. However, for less liquid fixed income and other low liquidity areas, ETFs could theoretically have a “liquidity mismatch” which might cause some issues.

Published in Eq: Large Cap
Friday, 13 July 2018 10:03

The ETF Price War is Deepening

(New York)

Advisors will see it first hand, but it is still worth discussing the intensification of the current ETF price war. While the industry has been slashing fees for years, things have escalated significantly over the last few months. State Street has introduced a suite of ultra cheap funds, but more recently, BlackRock and Vanguard have made major moves. BlackRock cut fees on several stock and bond ETFs last month, and just last week, Vanguard announced that almost every ETF on its platform would be commission-free. The ETF market is supposed to grow to $10 tn in the next decade, and fees have fallen 30% in the last decade.

FINSUM: This is great news for investors, but it will certainly drive further consolidation in the ETF business as massive scale is needed to support these prices cuts. We ultimately worry about such imbalance in the market.

Published in Eq: Large Cap
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