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And don’t miss Nir Kaissar on Vanguard as stockpicker savior: “Smart beta ETFs are cheaper, and investors are skeptical that human stock pickers can beat the bots by more than the difference in fees. According to Morningstar data, the average expense ratio for smart beta ETFs is 0.47 percent a year, and the asset-weighted average expense ratio -- which accounts for the size of the ETFs -- is just 0.26 percent. That compares with 1.13 percent and 0.7 percent, respectively, for actively managed mutual funds.

“Vanguard, however, is changing the calculation. It recently rolled out actively managed ETFs with fees that are comparable to those of smart beta funds. Vanguard’s U.S. Value Factor ETF, for example, charges 0.13 percent a year, compared with 0.06 percent for Vanguard’s smart beta Value ETF. That’s a big deal because the stock pickers behind the U.S. Value Factor ETF don’t have to overcome a daunting fee hurdle to compete.” 

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.

Max Nisen is a Bloomberg Gadfly columnist covering biotech, pharma and health care. He previously wrote about management and corporate strategy for Quartz and Business Insider.

To contact the author of this story: Max Nisen in New York at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Gongloff at

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