Fidelity Investments, the nation’s biggest mutual fund company, said Friday that its sector funds will no longer carry a 3% front-end sales charge.

The Boston-based firm will eliminate the standard fee on its Select Portfolios, which track individual industries, making its entire retail fund lineup of 173 funds available on a no-load basis. The front-end load was lifted at the close of trading on Monday. While its sector funds are among the smallest of its portfolios, they make up $18.3 billion of its $1.6 trillion in total assets under management.

The largest of its sector funds are the $2.3 billion Select Technology fund, the $2 billion Select Biotechnology fund and the $1.9 billion Select Healthcare fund. These funds allow more flexibility than traditional mutual funds in that they are priced hourly and can be bought and sold throughout the trading day. This can be an attractive feature for investors who actively look for market trends, the company said.

The move comes in response to increasing competition from exchange-traded fund products, which are low-cost index portfolios that trade on the major stock exchanges. In June, Fidelity eliminated similar fees on several of its larger funds including the $63 billion Magellan fund and $32 billion Contrafund.

Subscribe Now

Access to premium content including in-depth coverage of mutual funds, hedge funds, 401(K)s, 529 plans, and more.

3-Week Free Trial

Insight and analysis into the management, marketing, operations and technology of the asset management industry.