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Thursday, August 28, 2014

The Debate Over Fund Fees Evolves

News summary by MFWire's editors

The conversation about fund costs, and whether low fees are always better, continues to evolve.

After heated response to a previous column predicting a bleak future for actively managed funds, Morningstar columnist John Rekenthaler acknowledged that there are good active funds out there, but stuck to his guns in the argument that active managers are suffering from a "public relations thrashing." Much of that beating comes from escalating debates over cost. Allegations of high cost shouldn't exclusively be leveled against active managers, he writes. There are a number of ETFs and indexers that are far from bargains.

However, the low cost argument doesn't reign supreme everywhere. Morningstar analyst Jason Kephart writes in a column that was later cited in Barron's that the liquid alts realm remains one where high fees are still more or less tolerated.

Cost competition is no longer a threat from just rival fund firms, it can be a danger from within one's own complex. InvestmentNews' Trevor Hunnicutt writes that much of Fidelity's $8.8 billion in outflows for 2014 isn't going to rival fund firms, but rather to cheaper investment products sold by Fido itself.  

Edited by: Tommy Fernandez


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