This Day On The Street
Continue to site
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here

Vanguard Moves Up in ETF Rankings

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Although it is notably newer to the ETF game compared to other fund leaders like Blackrock (BLK) and State Street (SST), Vanguard has enjoyed a dramatic ascension that has propelled it to No. 3 in total assets.

According to the November fund flow data compiled by the National Stock Exchange, the Pennsylvania-based investment company boasts a combined nearly $175 billion in assets.

As many have pointed out and discussed in the past, Vanguard's success in the ETF industry has largely rested on its ability to offer attractive ETF products at a steeply discounted cost. For example, although both the Vanguard Emerging Market ETF (VWO) and iShares MSCI Emerging Market Index Fund (EEM) are designed to mimic the performance of the same index, the former has taken the crown thanks to its dramatically reduced expense ratio.

More recently, the spotlight has shifted to the ongoing showdown between the iShares Barclays Aggregate Bond Index Fund (AGG) and the Vanguard Total Bond ETF (BND). During the final weeks of the 2011 , the younger, albeit cheaper, BND managed to surpass the Blackrock-sponsored veteran to become the third largest fixed income ETF by assets.

Now, as we embark on the New Year, Vanguard appears to have taken steps to ensure that its position within the ETF universe remains uncontested. The company's latest strategy may help it close in on its nearest competition.

In the waning days of December, Vanguard announced that it was cutting expense ratios associated with its line of sector-tracking ETFs. According to Morningstar, the costs associated with these funds, which include names such as the Vanguard Consumer Discretionary ETF (VCR), Vanguard Industrials ETF (VIS) and the Vanguard Telecommunications Services ETF (VOX) would be slashed by between 15% and 20%.

With this move, Vanguard-branded products have now officially become the cheapest options for ETF investors looking to gain exposure to nearly any specific market sector. Case in point, VCR's 0.19% expense ratio undercuts the Consumer Discretionary Select Sector SPDR (XLY) by a single basis point.

In only one case Vanguard fails to win the pricing war: the Vanguard Financial ETF's (VFH) 0.23% expense ratio is 3 basis points above that of the Financial Select Sector SPDR (XLF).

The decision to slash expense ratios will certainly boost the appeal of Vanguard's sector ETF product line. However, investors shouldn't expect all of these funds to overtake their big name competitors any time soon. On the contrary, in comparing a fund like the VIS to the Industrial Select Sector SPDR (XLI) it becomes clear how steep a hill the younger funds have yet to climb.

1 of 2

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Action Alerts PLUS

Portfolio Manager Jim Cramer and Director of Research Jack Mohr reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Quant Ratings

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
Stocks Under $10

David Peltier uncovers low dollar stocks with serious upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
14-Days Free
Only $9.95
14-Days Free
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!
EEM $42.70 0.00%
VWO $43.52 0.00%
VIS $107.37 0.00%
XLF $24.13 0.00%
XLI $55.80 0.00%


DOW 17,826.30 -279.47 -1.54%
S&P 500 2,081.18 -23.81 -1.13%
NASDAQ 4,931.8150 -75.9760 -1.52%

Partners Compare Online Brokers

Free Reports

Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs