BNY Mellon unleashes first no-fee bond fund

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The rush to zero costs in the competitive ETF industry is showing no signs of abating, with BNY Mellon escalating that perilous war.

The New York-based firm is launching the BNY Mellon Core Bond ETF (BKAG), the first ever no-fee U.S. fixed-income fund, according to a statement on Thursday. Another fund tracking big American companies will also have no cost: the BNY Mellon US Large Cap Core Equity ETF (BKLC).

A wave of cost-cutting has swept the ETF industry in the past year. But BNY Mellon’s debut marks the first big entrant into the zero-cost space with the potential to shake up established funds from BlackRock, State Street and Vanguard, according to Bloomberg Intelligence.

“We have a very unique set of capabilities and efficiencies that allow us to price very competitively,” said Stephanie Pierce, CEO of ETF and index for BNY Mellon Investment Management. “With the increasing concern about concentration risk in the industry, we believe we can give clients an institutional quality choice.”

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Abolishing fees generates publicity, something that could make the difference between survival and liquidation in a marketplace with more than 2,000 options. More than 70% of U.S. ETF assets are in funds that charge $2 or less per $1,000 invested and 93% of new money has flowed into such products this year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

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