Despite extended periods of disappointing returns and the stigma of significantly higher expenses than their State-side counterparts, foreign equity and emerging market funds are not without hope when it comes to luring new investors. And one of the ways they are gaining favor is by steadfastly laboring to lower fees.

International funds represent a significant niche in the market, with about $158 billion in total net assets. As a category, expenses average 1.72%, according to Lipper. And returns have not been all that great, either, with the category down -4.9% year-to-date, down -20.5% in the trailing year and off -6.7% in the previous five years.

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