January 2, 2013

BlackRock Not Changing iShares’ Fees; Vanguard Cutting More ETF Expenses

BlackRock clarifies its expense policy after filings created confusion

BlackRock headquarters in New York. (Photo: AP)BlackRock (BLK) said Wednesday that it was not making any changes to the fee and expense structure of its iShares exchange traded products.

Earlier this week, there were several reports of fee increases due to higher figures in some iShares’ filings.

These filings were made for the 12 months ended Aug. 31, 2012. However, investors pay fees and expenses according to the level of assets at the end of the calendar year according to a breakpoint fee schedule, BlackRock says.

“Those filings outline the actual fees incurred as a percentage of net assets during the funds’ fiscal year. These fees do not reflect what investors may have paid and current fees,” according to a company spokesperson quoted by Benzinga.com.

In other ETF news, Morningstar reported on Monday that Vanguard would reduce expense ratios on 24 ETFs, as outlined in three late-December filings.

“Notably, most of the firm's U.S. equity sector ETFs now charge 0.14%, which is down from 0.19% and well below the 0.18% that  State Street Corp (STT) charges for its equity sector SPDR funds,” wrote Robert Goldsborough in the news piece.

The Morningstar analyst also points out that Vanguard, which runs its funds at cost, “also slightly increased the price tags for two small-cap ETFs that have had trouble maintaining assets.”

In mid-December, Fidelity said it was lowering the investment minimums on 22 of its Spartan index funds and the expenses on eight Spartan index funds.

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