Investment fees on the way down
The average asset management costs for unit trust funds have decreased by almost 0.3 percentage points over the past five years, according to Nedgroup Investments. In its Core Chartbook for 2019, Nedgroup shows that these costs as measured by the average total expense ratio (TER) on unit trusts and exchange-traded funds was 1.27% in 2013. Five years later, in 2018, it had decreased to 0.98%. Jannie Leach, the head of core investments at Nedgroup Investments, says about a third of the decrease can be attributed to lower performance fees due to lower returns on many local funds over the past five years. The TER on funds with performance fees was down 0.5% over the past five years, he says.Another third of the reduction in the TER is a result of rebates, formerly paid to investment platforms, being removed from asset management fees. Many platforms are using so-called clean class funds where there is transparency about asset-management and platform fees. The final third of the decrease in the TER is a result of fees coming down over a period when passively managed collective investment schemes grew 15% a year, Leach says. Fees on rules-based funds have also decreased by about 0.08 percentage points.