It’s with some pride that I watch one of America’s great companies, Vanguard, expand onto UK soil, Paul.
As you outlined in your recent article, Vanguard is launching into the UK with 11 new passive bond and equity funds, all issued at incredibly low costs.
Want UK equity exposure? Try 0.15% in annual expenses. How about Japan? 0.30% in expenses. U.S. stocks? 0.20% in expenses.
As you explain, these new funds undercut the lowest-cost ETFs in Europe by a large amount. I imagine they are priced an order of magnitude cheaper than the average actively managed mutual fund. I wish these funds were available to retail investors—with a minimum investment of $100K, they’re out of my reach—but at least it’s a step.
I’m hoping Vanguard can inject a new focus on costs into the UK market, and also give a spur to growth in the independent FA market. As you know, Vanguard’s unique structure—it’s a co-op, essentially, owned by the shareholders in the funds itself—means it is consistently driving down the price of fund management. Maybe with 15 bps funds available, IFAs will be able to make bigger inroads in the UK market.
Which has me wondering: Why do you think the growth of fee-only advisers has been as slow as it has been in the UK? Despite being required to offer a fee-only approach since 2005, most IFAs (I understand) are still paid on commission, and overall IFA growth has been limited. What’s slowing things done over there?