Right before Christmas, Vanguard spread some holiday cheer, announcing fee reductions on nine equity and fixed income exchange traded funds, most of which are international products.
“In annual reports being published today (Dec. 24), nine stock and bond ETFs reported lower expense ratios, including the $24.3 billion Vanguard Total International Bond ETF BNDX and the $17.3 billion Vanguard Total International Stock ETF VXUS,” Pennsylvania-based Vanguard said in a statement.
Vanguard, the second-largest ETF issuer, said the latest round of fee cuts, which include several index funds, equal $27.7 million in savings for investors, bringing the total amount saved by the firm's clients last year to $69.3 million.
The batch of ETF fee trimmings are important because investors are usually subjected to higher fees on international funds, but as Vanguard shows, even ex-U.S. markets are becoming less expensive to tap thanks to the ongoing ETF fee war.
Here's a trio of Vanguard international ETFs that just got a little bit cheaper.
Vanguard FTSE Emerging Markets ETF (VWO)
Home to $63.2 billion in assets under management at the end of November, the Vanguard FTSE Emerging Markets ETF VWO isn't just the biggest emerging markets ETF, it's one of the largest international funds of any variety.
With the latest fee cut, VWO is now charging 0.10% per year, or $10 on a $10,000 investment, cementing its status as one of the least emerging markets funds.
VWO holds 5,074 stocks, nearly 36% of which are Chinese names. The fund, which features no South Korea exposure, allocates 25.70% of its weight to Taiwan and Brazil.
Disclosure: The author owns shares of VWO.
Vanguard FTSE Europe ETF (VGK)
The $14 billion Vanguard FTSE Europe ETF VGK is also one of biggest funds in its category, confirming that as its ETFs grow in heft, Vanguard is apt to lower fees on those products.
VGK's new expense ratio is now 0.08% per year, down from 0.09%, easily keeping it in the conversation for cheapest Europe ETF.
VGK is a cap-weighted fund, meaning many of its 1,345 stocks hail from a small number of countries. The U.K., France, Switzerland and Germany combine for nearly three-quarters of the fund's geographic exposure.
Vanguard FTSE All-World ex-US Small-Cap ETF (VSS)
Small-cap ETFs are usually pricier than large-cap equivalents and that's definitely true among international funds, but the Vanguard FTSE All-World ex-US Small-Cap ETF VSS is now a tad cheaper at 0.11% per year, down from 0.12%.
The $5.5 billion VSS holds almost 4,000 stocks, giving it a deeper bench than many domestic small-cap funds.
VSS mixes developed and emerging economies as 45 countries are represented in the fund. Japan, Canada and the U.K. combined for 41.7%.
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