The ultra-low fee trend in the ETF space is still alive and well.
Fidelity introduced the Fidelity ZERO Total Market Index Fund (FZROX) back in 2018 with a 0% expense ratio along with no commissions or minimums. SoFi followed up in 2019 with the SoFi Select 500 ETF (SFY), the first ETF with a 0% fee.
Salt Financial attempted to take up it yet another level by launching the Salt Low truBeta U.S. Market ETF (LSLT) with an expense ratio of -0.05%.
These funds have achieved mixed degrees of success. Fidelity's launch has clearly been the most successful, while the others have failed to gain significant traction.
That won't stop BNY Mellon from trying their hand. Last week, the company debuted the BNY Mellon U.S. Large Cap Core Equity ETF (BKLC) with a 0% expense ratio. The BNY Mellon Core Bond ETF (BKAG) is also set to launch soon with a 0% expense ratio.
In all, here is BNY's new product menu.
So, how does a fund make money on a product that doesn't take a fee? That's easy. It doesn't. These companies use fee-free products in order to get money in the door so they can cross-sell customers with other more lucrative products, such as financial advisor relationships. That was the case with Fidelity, although SoFi and Salt are mostly trying to gain a better footing within the industry.
BKLC will track the Morningstar Large Cap Index, which tracks the performance of U.S. large-cap stocks that represent the largest 70 percent capitalization of the investable universe. In other words, expect this fund to be virtually identical to an S&P 500 index fund. It may not track the 500 exactly, but it'll be close enough that any differences will be virtually indistinguishable.
Will BNY Mellon be successful with this offering? Depends on your definition of success. Will they get some assets in the door? Probably. Will it grow their footprint in the ETF industry? Probably. Will they get $1 billion in fresh assets into the fund? Probably not.
My guess is that it gets $200-ish million or so and is a good first step into establishing an ETF lineup, but don't expect anywhere near the $4 billion Fidelity has in FZROX.
Regardless, any fund that charges 0% and cost investors nothing to invest in gets a thumbs up from me.
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