Fidelity Investments said on Tuesday that it lowered the expenses on five of its equity index funds offered primarily to individual and group retirement plans, capping the ratios at 10 basis points.

The firm said the move was part of an ongoing effort over the last year and a half to cut expenses. "As of today, Fidelity now offers individual investors five diversified equity index funds that are among the lowest cost in the market," said Jeff Carney, president of Fidelity’s personal investments unit. "It is the latest move in an aggressive effort over the past 18 months to scale back fees, expenses and commissions on a number of our products in order to ensure that we are positioning ourselves at the head of the pack in a very competitive marketplace."

The Spartan 500 Index and the Spartan U.S. Equity Index funds, which both had maintained expense ratios of 0.19% and track the S&P 500, will be lowered to 0.10%. The Spartan Total Market Index Fund, which had an expense ratio of 0.25%, and the Spartan Extended Market Index Fund, which charged a maximum of 0.40%, will also be dropped to 10 basis points. Both funds track the Dow Jones Wilshire 4500 Completion Index. Lastly, the Spartan International Index Fund decreased its fee from 0.47%. Fidelity has a total of nine index funds.

In addition, Fidelity said it also standardized the required investment minimum across all of its retail equity index funds. Investors will be required to shell out a minimum of $10,000 for an initial investment in the fund and $1,000 for additional purchases after that.

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