Goldman Continues Its Vanguard Impersonation

Goldman Sachs Asset Management (GSAM) – the asset management and exchange-traded fund (ETF) arm of The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (GS) – was a latecomer to the ETF world, introducing its first products in late 2015. That has not stopped GSAM from becoming a force to be reckoned with in the ETF space. One reason for Goldman’s ETF success is its willingness to compete with industry giants, including Vanguard, on fees. Nearly all of Goldman’s equity-based ETFs are smart beta products, but GSAM has not been shy about pricing these products as if they were traditional, plain vanilla cap-weighted funds.

GSAM is at it again. The firm is planning to launch an equal-weight large-cap U.S. equity ETF with an annual fee of just 0.09%, or $9 on a $10,000 investment, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). That is slightly less expensive than the cap-weighted SPDR S&P 500 ETF (SPY), the world’s largest ETF. (See also: 3 Ways to Avoid High ETF Fees.)

More importantly, the Goldman equal-weight large-cap ETF will be significantly less expensive than the Guggenheim S&P 500 Equal Weight ETF (RSP). In June, Guggenheim lowered the annual fee on RSP to 0.2%, perhaps in anticipation of the increased competition from Goldman. That was a 50% cut in RSP’s annual expense ratio. (See also: A Venerable Equal-Weight ETF.)

„Most of the savings have gone to investors in plain vanilla funds that are cheap to run, but Goldman is now pushing the fee war into more complex smart-beta strategies that shun indexes weighted by market capitalization in favor of other factors,“ according to Bloomberg.

The Goldman Sachs ActiveBeta U.S. Large Cap ETF (GSLC), GSAM’s flagship equity ETF, features an annual expense ratio of just 0.09% compared with the industry average for smart beta ETFs of 35 basis points, according to the issuer. The Goldman Sachs ActiveBeta U.S. Small Cap Equity ETF (GSSC), a smart beta small-cap ETF introduced in June, charges 0.2% per year. That compares favorably with other smart beta small-cap funds on the market.

Earlier this month, GSAM introduced the Goldman Sachs Access High Yield Corporate Bond ETF (GHYB). That smart beta high-yield corporate bond ETF charges 0.34% per year, below the annual fees on the iShares iBoxx $ High Yield Corporate Bond ETF (HYG) and the SPDR Bloomberg Barclays High Yield Bond ETF (JNK), the two largest junk bond ETFs. (See also: Goldman Sachs Adds a Corporate Bond ETF.)

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