State Street, the third largest ETF provider, has cut fees on four ETFs.
The new expense ratios for the SPDR Bloomberg Barclays International Treasury Bond ETF (BWX) and SPDR Nuveen S&P High Yield Municipal Bond ETF (HYMB) are now 35 basis points, down from 50 and 45 basis points, respectively.
The new fees for the SPDR SSGA Income Allocation ETF (INKM) and SPDR SSGA Multi-Asset Real Return ETF (RLY) are 50 basis points, down almost 30% from 70 basis points previously. All four fee cuts were effective Sept. 4.
“In reducing the expense ratios of these four SPDRs we help lower the total cost of ownership for our clients and ensure the funds are well positioned for growth in the current market,” said Noel Archard, global head of SPDR product at State Street Global Advisors, in a statement.
(Related: Fidelity Unleashes No-Fee Index Funds)
The State Street fee cuts continue a growing trend among asset managers to cut expense ratios on ETFs and mutual funds and eliminate commissions on ETF trades. In July alone Fidelity introduced two no-fee index funds and Vanguard launched the industry’s largest platform of ETFs available commission-free.
Todd Rosenbluth, director of ETF & Mutual Fund Research at CFRA, says State Street’s move to reduce fees can help the firm stem outflows and attract inflows with more competitively priced funds as the ETF market expands. “It’s not too late. Investors are clearly gravitating toward cheaper alternatives,” says Rosenbluth.
State Street, which is not the cheapest alternative for ETFs — it charges 0.0945% for its S&P 500 index fund, more than twice that of ETFs from Vanguard and BlackRock’s iShares, which charge 0.04% each — has seen net outflows of $11.35 billion in assets year to date through the end of August, more than any other ETF provider, according to ETF.com. During that same period, BlackRock and Vanguard have seen inflows of $62.8 and $50.0 billion, respectively.
State Street’s latest fee cut does not reduce fees below what many of its competitors charge, but matches them. The new, lower fee on its high-yield municipal bond ETF, for example, matches the fee on Van Eck Vectors’ High Yield Muni Bond Fund (HYD) which saw inflows of $430.62 million year to date through the end of August and has $2.68 billion in AUM.
In contrast, State Street’s fund, with $534 million in assets, had outflows of $16.4 million during the same time period.
State Street’s BWX fund now charges the same as the iShares’ IGOV, which saw inflows of $50.46 million year-to-date and has $886 million in AUM. State Street’s fund has $1.12 billion in AUM and experienced $347 million in outflows this year.
In October, State Street made an even more aggressive move to cut fees. It reduced fees on 15 SPDR ETFs to levels at or below the lowest in the industry.
In July, the firm, which had $2.72 trillion in assets under management as of June 30, announced it was acquiring software maker Charles River Development for $2.6 billion in cash to provide a major software platform for client-facing services. That acquisition is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2018.