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Diverse Views on Impact of Fidelity’s Zero Fee Offerings

Fidelity’s recent launch of no-fee index funds has jolted the industry and inspired much media commentary. Barron’s writes that Fidelity’s move represents a new low in the asset management industry’s price war – and it’s hard to go below zero. Morningstar’s Russ Kinnel writes that large, diverse players like Fidelity and Schwab can afford to accommodate a few loss leaders in their lineup, although for Vanguard and BlackRock such a move would be trickier since indexing is at the core of their business. The Financial Times notes that the initial alarm in financial stocks may have been overdone and Wall Street analysts’ view that Fidelity’s move would not have a noticeable short-term impact caused financial stocks to recover some ground. The FT also reports that although Fidelity’s move may be targeted at brokerage competitors like Schwab and TD Ameritrade, the trend toward low costs in the investment industry is inescapable at this point. The Economist predicts that Fidelity’s move may eventually lead to even more consolidation among passive fund providers.