Asset Managers Strategize to Absorb Fidelity's New Service Fee, Rayliant ETFs Shine


Fidelity's new ETF service fee prompts strategic shifts among asset managers, with firms like Rayliant absorbing costs to prioritize investors.

By Max Weldon

4/3, 13:56 EDT

Key Takeaway

  • Fidelity introduces a $100 service fee on select ETFs, prompting asset managers like Rayliant to absorb costs to maintain investor access.
  • Rayliant's ETFs, including RAYD with a 12% gain this year, showcase the benefits of active management and strategic adaptation.
  • The industry response to Fidelity's fee may drive enhanced services and technology for investors, setting new standards in asset management.

Navigating New Terrain

In the ever-evolving landscape of investment, Fidelity Investments' recent announcement regarding a new service fee for a select group of exchange-traded funds (ETFs) has sparked a strategic pivot among asset managers. This development, while initially perceived as a challenge, is being met with innovative solutions that underscore the resilience and adaptability of the asset management industry.

Strategic Adaptations

Some asset managers, recognizing the importance of maintaining accessibility for their investors, are considering entering into support agreements with Fidelity. This move would not only circumvent the $100 service fee for investors but also signal a commitment to investor-centric practices. Jason Hsu, founder of Rayliant, views this approach as the "sensible path" forward, emphasizing the importance of removing barriers for investors interested in their actively-managed ETFs.

Rayliant's Proactive Approach

Rayliant, with its suite of ETFs, exemplifies the proactive stance being taken by some asset managers. Despite the potential for a new fee impacting investor decisions, Rayliant is prepared to absorb the cost associated with Fidelity's maintenance fee, ensuring their ETFs remain an attractive option for investors. This decision reflects a broader trend of asset managers prioritizing the investor experience, even in the face of rising operational costs.

Performance Highlights

The strategic decisions made by Rayliant and similar firms are underpinned by the strong performance of their ETFs. The Rayliant Quantitative Developed Market Equity ETF (RAYD), for instance, has outperformed the S&P 500 index with a 12% gain this year, showcasing the potential benefits of active management in developed markets. Similarly, Rayliant's other offerings, including the Rayliant Quantamental China Equity ETF (RAYC) and the Rayliant Quantamental Emerging Market ex-China Equity ETF (RAYE), have also posted commendable gains, further validating the firm's investment strategies.

Industry-Wide Implications

The introduction of Fidelity's service fee and the subsequent response from asset managers like Rayliant may set a precedent for the broader asset management industry. As firms navigate these changes, the emphasis on maintaining investor-friendly practices could lead to enhanced service offerings and technological advancements, ultimately benefiting the end investor.