Six more cheap Vanguard funds are getting a little cheaper for loyal, fat-cat investors.
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On Tuesday the firm best known for its ultra-cheap index funds added lower-cost Admiral shares to six more of its funds:
European Stock Index,
Pacific Stock Index,
Asset Allocation. The new share class, now available on 34 Vanguard funds, is available to investors with a big or long-standing account with the Valley Forge, Pa., firm, the nation's second largest fund shop with $570 billion under management.
The Admiral shares are designed to reward, attract and keep the fund world's most profitable fish -- shareholders with big accounts who don't drive up expenses or whittle margins by hopping in and out of funds. The low-cost shares are a nod to the budding popularity of low-cost exchange-traded funds, or ETFs, a market Vanguard only recently entered.
To qualify for the new shares, investors will need to have either $250,000 in a fund, $150,000 in a fund they have held for at least three years with online account access, or at least $50,000 in a fund they have held for a minimum of 10 years with online account access.
The annual expenses of the new share class are lower than the firms' already cheap investor class shares. The Vanguard U.S. Growth fund's Admiral shares, for instance, carry a 0.33% annual expense ratio, compared with 0.41% for the fund's standard investor class shares. A $50,000 investment in the fund's investor shares would cost $205 in its first year, compared with $165 for the same investment in the fund's Admiral class shares.
The list of other Vanguard funds already offering Admiral shares includes popular and broad index portfolios like the
Vanguard 500 Index fund,
Vanguard Total Stock Market fund and
Vanguard Extended Market Index fund.
While converting from investor shares to Admiral shares might be a good idea and won't trigger capital gains taxes, it's not automatic. Investors must request conversion, mainly through the firm's Web site.