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Wednesday, February 15, 2017

A Deep Dive Into Fidelity's New Platform

Reported by Neil Anderson, Managing Editor

On February 1 Fidelity created a new investing platform for its RIA allies, and dozens of fund firms are getting in on the action so far. The platform is a hybrid of traditional NTF and TF platforms, and so is the pricing.

Carolyn Clancy
Fidelity Investments
EVP, FundsNetwork
MFWire broke the news two weeks ago that the Boston Behemoth just launched an NTF (no transaction fee) platform featuring institutional shares. Carolyn Clancy, executive vice president of the Fidelity FundsNetwork, says that the new platform, which Fidelity folks are calling their iNTF Program, came together pretty quickly.

"We literally made the decision towards the end of last year," Clancy tells MFWire, and they started it up on February 1, about 90 days after the process began.

Word on the industry street is that it costs a flat 15 basis points to put a fund on the iNTF platform, compared to the usual 10 bps to be on a transaction fee platform and 40 bps (25 coming from 12b-1s) to be on a traditional, retail NTF platform. Clancy declined to confirm the iNTF platform pricing, but she confirmed that "there's real consistency and standardization."

"Fidelity's made it clear that if you're going to be on the platform, everybody's paying the same rate," one fundster tells MFWire.

Clancy, citing non-disclosure agreements, declined to identify which fund firms are participating in the iNTF platform so far. Yet she confirms that more than 30 fund firms and more than 1,100 CUSIPs are on the new platform. By comparison, Fidelity has more than 400 fund families and 6,600 CUSIPs on its traditional NTF platform for RIAs.

And she's adding more to the iNTF platform, too.

"We're moving fairly rapidly," Clancy says. "You will absolutely see more."

"We're signing folks up on a pretty evolving basis," Clancy adds. "On roughly a monthly basis we'll be continuing to update things as we go forward."

A perusal of Fidelity's Wealthscape portal for RIAs shows funds from 50 firms that could be on the new platform.. It's not clear which firms are part of the new iNTF program versus those simply eating the 40 bps cost of the traditional NTF program even though they don't charge 12b-1s. For example, though sources familiar with the situation told MFWire that Goldman Sachs is not yet on the new platform, some of their funds' institutional shares do show up as being available through Fidelity on an NTF basis.

These 50 firms have funds that are currently available, at institutional pricing, on a no-transaction-fee basis, through Fidelity:

American Beacon



Cloud Capital

Columbia Threadneedle



Diamond Hill


Eaton Vance



First Focus

Franklin Templeton

Fred Alger



Goldman Sachs




John Hancock






Manning & Napier



Monte Chesapeake

Morgan Stanley

Permanent Portfolio



Rice Hall James





Snow Capital

Sound Shore










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