Zero Fee Trades Likely Means Lower Fee ETFs - Part 2

Now that its clear investors understand how fees affect their returns and the financial industry as a whole is responding by lowering trading commissions to zero and cutting management fees on funds, its just a matter of time until we see ‘indexed’ funds begin to offer zero or near zero, as in 0.01% expense ratio, fee funds.

Why? Simple because they have to stay competitive if they want to stay in business.

For years the biggest argument for one someone would buy an index fund is because it would be so cumbersome and costly to go out and buy a few shares of all the different stocks that make up a specific index. For example, if an investor wanted to mimic the Dow Jones Industrial Average, they would need to go out and buy one share of each of the 30 companies that currently make up the index.

In the past, that would be 30 different stocks in someone’s personal portfolio, which honestly isn’t that much higher than what the average retail investor owns, typically somewhere between 15 and 20. However, that would also mean the investor would have paid a trading commission 30 different times in order to set up that portfolio (1 trading commission for each different company they bought a share or multiple shares of). If the average investor was paying $4.95 per trade, that’s $148.50 in trading commissions just so they could mimic the Dow Jones Industrial Average without having to pay a mutual fund or ETFs fees every year. Continue reading "Zero Fee Trades Likely Means Lower Fee ETFs - Part 2"

Zero Fee Trades Likely Means Lower Fee ETFs - Part 1

The investment world was flipped upside-down recently when Charles Schwab eliminated trading commissions on stocks, ETFs, and options last month. The move prompted TD Ameritrade, E*TRADE, and other players in the industry to follow suit quickly or risk losing clients. The move is not the first time we have seen trading commissions reduced, but never before have retail investors been able to trade literally for free.

Most people would claim that the late Jack Bogle started this ‘war on fee’s’ decades ago when he introduced the low-cost index fund at Vanguard. The first low-cost mutual funds offered investors an inexpensive, at the time, option for investors. The low fee option Vanguard introduced proved to be a good move as Vanguard grew its asset base into what is now more than $5.5 trillion. Over the years, other firms began to fight back by cutting their fees, but the war had already started, and investors began to see the value in low-cost options.

Jack Bogle himself would often talk about how fees cost investors hundreds of thousands of dollars over their investing lifetime. The simple idea of paying lower fees equates to higher account balances over time makes perfect sense, especially to anyone who understands the power of compounding returns.

Zero fees on trading commissions will leave millions of dollars in investors' hands. It has been estimated that Charles Schwab alone will lose out on somewhere between $90 and $100 million in quarterly revenue now that they cut their trading fee to zero. That is just $100 million for one firm and one quarter. Based on those figures only of Schwab, we could easily see somewhere close to $1 billion is left in the hands of investors over the course of a year.

Now that we have hit zero fees on trading commissions and investors continue to learn how low-cost investing helps their overall returns, it's likely we will see more fee-cutting throughout the investing industry. The high fee’s on mutual funds have already begun pushing investors to ETFs. And the ETF industry has already started fighting the battle to cut costs. Continue reading "Zero Fee Trades Likely Means Lower Fee ETFs - Part 1"

Political Policy Changes Redefining One Industry and Creating Massive Opportunity

Matt Thalman - INO.com Contributor - ETFs


This summer investors have witnessed firsthand how political policy changes can affect commodity and equity prices. In July both France and the United Kingdom announced it would ban the sale of diesel and gasoline powered cars by the year 2040. Other countries like Norway and India have set goals of even earlier dates to no longer have oil based vehicles sold by 2025 and 2030.
India had even taken it one step further and announced that not only will gasoline vehicles not be sold after 2030, but all gasoline vehicles will need to be replaced with electric and battery powered vehicles by that year.

The Netherlands wants to switch to electric vehicles by 2025 while Germany intends to make the change by 2030, but neither has set these plans in written law. But, the most notable announcement comes from China, a country that has over 300 million registered vehicles. Chinese authorities have not yet set a deadline for the end of sales of internal-combustion vehicles, but they have made it clear that they are working on a timetable.

While the U.S. and some of the other leading countries around the world have yet to come out and formally announce a date of when internal combustion engines will no longer be allowed, many believe there will come a day that all first world countries have such a ban.

So from an investing perspective, cashing in on this opportunity is simply just buying investments today and waiting. Continue reading "Political Policy Changes Redefining One Industry and Creating Massive Opportunity"

3 ETF's 20 Something's Should Buy

Matt Thalman - INO.com Contributor - ETFs


There has never been a better time to be an investor. No Matter your age, investing experience, investing temperament or income level, there are a number of investment options that are right for you. I recently wrote a piece discussing a few of my favorite Exchange Traded Funds geared for all investors. Most investors should buy a few of the ETF's I mentioned in the piece or ETF's similar in nature and be set. But, after writing that piece, I began to think about how different age groups have different interests and different goals with their money and may want to further diversify their holdings based on their personal preferences.

So with that in mind, today we will be talking about three ETF's that investors in their 20's would be interested in. But before we get any further, everyone should remember the ETF's mentioned in the previous piece should still make-up a portion of your investment able assets, simply due to their stability and diversity. Continue reading "3 ETF's 20 Something's Should Buy"

ETF's That Let You Trade the Volatility Index "VIX"

Matt Thalman - INO.com Contributor - ETFs


One of the many great side effects to the rise in popularity of Exchange Traded Funds, ETF's, is that they have increased the types of investments individuals can buy into. The average investor can now easy buy and sell funds that hold actual commodities, indexes, bond portfolios, and even dabble in the options markets without ever making a signal put or call trade themselves.

Today, I would like to point out how investors can use ETF's to play the S&P 500 Volatility Index or VIX.

But, before we get into the ETF's that allow you to profit from the VIX's moves, let take a look at the VIX itself and what causes it to move in one direction or the other. The VIX is calculated using option pricing. It looks at the price of the call and put options because we know that higher option prices mean that investors believe there is a greater chance of volatility. Without getting into too much detail about options, the reason this works is because if an underlying security has high volatility it can make an option more or less valuable depending on what side of the trade you are on. Because the level of volatility will change the likelihood, the option will expire in or out of the money.

Are you confused yet? Continue reading "ETF's That Let You Trade the Volatility Index "VIX""