State Street cuts fees on 41 ETFs as price competition heats up

Tue Feb 3, 2015 10:51am EST
 
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By Ashley Lau

NEW YORK Feb 3 (Reuters) - State Street Corp said on Tuesday it has slashed management fees on 41 of its SPDR exchange-traded funds, joining major ETF providers BlackRock Inc and Vanguard in their efforts to lower fees as price competition heats up.

The price cuts at State Street, which affect a range of international and domestic equity and bond funds, come at a time when cost has become an increasingly important factor for ETF providers. Vanguard, which recently surpassed State Street to become the No. 2 U.S. ETF provider, has been winning assets with its razor-thin fees.

With the new price reductions, State Street's SPDR Barclays Aggregate Bond ETF, for example, now has an expense ratio of 0.1 percent, down from 0.21 percent. That brings the fund closer to the range of the Vanguard Total Bond Market ETF and the iShares Core U.S. Aggregate Bond ETF, which both have an expense ratio of 0.08 percent.

State Street said the fee reductions are part of an ongoing review process "to identify improvements that are beneficial to investors."

"Competitive pricing is a core benefit to the SPDR ETF value proposition," said James Ross, global head of SPDR ETFs at State Street Global Advisors, the company's asset management business.

ETF assets have been flowing into Vanguard, long a leader in low fees. It increased its U.S. market share to 21.3 percent at the end of 2014, more than doubling its market share since 2008.

BlackRock, the largest ETF provider, has also been expanding its "iShares Core" lineup of low-cost ETFs, a program it started in October 2012 to compete with cheaper funds offered by other providers. The company said on Monday it would extend a partial fee waiver of annual management fees on certain iShares funds in Canada. (Reporting by Ashley Lau; Editing by Dan Grebler)