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Less Than Zero? This Proposed ETF Would Pay Investors, But There's A Catch

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Less Than Zero? This Proposed ETF Would Pay Investors, But There's A Catch

The fee battle being waged in the exchange traded funds space is probably the most compelling in the industry's history, but an upstart issuer is looking to employ a novel concept: an ETF that actually pays its investors.

What To Know

Aside from recent fee cuts announced by industry giants State Street and Vanguard, SoFi revealed plans in late February for the first zero fee ETFs. JPMorgan Chase & Co.'s (NYSE: JPM) JPMorgan Asset Management is expected to introduce an ETF with annual fee of 0.02 percent, or $2 on a $10,000 investment.

That would be the cheapest fund in the industry, barring fee cuts by rivals, until the Sofi no-fee products debut.

Salt Financial, which currently offers one ETF, has filed plans with regulators to launch a low volatility that would pay investors, but there's a catch.

Why It's Important

“During the first year, holders will receive 50 cents for every $1,000 in a new low-volatility stock ETF — until it grows to $100 million when the cash-back benefit will be capped and shared with all investors,” reports Bloomberg. “The rebate is until at least April 2020, when a $2.90 management fee could kick in.”

New York-based Salt is looking to fight a problem afflicting many new ETFs: small size prevents many ETFs from being include on broker-dealer platforms, which prevents advisors from buying the funds. It is a vicious circle that keeps many small ETFs that way.

"The distribution channel for newer products is inhospitable for new issuers," Bloomberg reported Salt Financial's Tony Barchetto as writing in a comment letter to the Federal Trade Commission in January. "The most common 'gates' that new funds face are based on assets under management, liquidity, or time since the fund launched."

Salt knows something about this battle. The firm's existing ETF –- the Salt High truBeta US Market Fund (NYSE: SLT) -- is 10 months old and has $10.48 million in assets under management.

The fund that will pay investors is the Salt Low truBeta US Market Fund (NYSE:LSLT). Salt's website lists March 12 as the inception date for the fund.

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