Vanguard Group announced Thursday an aggressive expansion strategy to expand its index fund family.
The Valley Forge, Pa., mutual fund giant plans to introduce 19 new funds with exchange-traded fund in an effort to offer a wider array of low-cost stock and bond options. The firm will also launch ETF shares of its flagship Vanguard 500 Index Fund.
Vanguard said that its new ETFs will be less expensive than comparable products offered by competitors.
The company said that in the next year, the new funds will broaden its equity lineup by tracking benchmarks from a wider range of providers. Vanguard also plans to add indexed municipal products to its fixed income stable; and introduce an international real estate fund and ETF.
“We recognize that institutional investors and financial advisors may have a preference for certain benchmarks, and our goal is to offer them best-in-class funds and ETFs based on a choice of leading index providers, including FTSE, MSCI, Russell, and S&P,” William McNabb, Vanguard’s chief executive officer, said in a press release. “Vanguard’s focus has been on developing a full array of stock and bond funds and ETFs to cover domestic and international markets and market segments. We are taking this logical next step to provide multiple options within the domestic stock markets and more choice for bond investors.”
Rick Genoni, the head of ETF product management for Vanguard, said in an interview Thursday that when it comes to ETFs, customers have a “clear preference” for certain benchmarks and brands. He said Vanguard wanted to make sure its ETF lineup appealed to all of its clients.
On the equity side, Vanguard is adding a suite of seven funds with ETF shares that will offer exposure to value, growth, and blend segments of domestic markets based on the large cap Russell 1000 Index and small cap Russell 2000 Index. A broad market fund and ETF that would track the Russell 3000 Index will also be introduced.
In addition, Vanguard will complete its S&P lineup with eight new equity funds and ETFs targeting the growth and value segments of the S&P 500 Index and the growth, value, and blend segments of the S&P MidCap 400 and SmallCap 600 Indexes.
Genoni said the ETFs will be available for six basis points, making them some of the most inexpensive ETFs available to investors.
On the bond side, Vanguard will introduce three new municipal bond index funds with traditional and exchange-traded shares, tracking benchmarks in the S&P National AMT-Free Municipal Bond Index series.
The new real estate fund will be benchmarked to the S&P Global ex-U.S. Property Index. Vanguard Global ex-U.S. Real Estate Index Fund will offer investor shares, institutional shares, Signal shares, and ETF shares.
Registration statements for the 19 new funds and ETFs, and the Vanguard S&P 500 ETF were filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday. Genoni said that he expects the funds will be available to investors by the end of this year.
Vanguard, which introduced the Vanguard 500 Index Fund in 1976 and its first ETF in 2001, has $1.4 trillion in mutual fund assets under management, including nearly $100 billion in ETF assets. In the past year, Vanguard’s ETF assets under management have more than doubled in its lineup of 46 bond and stock ETFs.
Genoni said he expects Vanguard will continue to look to add more ETFs. "I don’t think these are the last products that we will offer, but we’ll continue to take a measured approach to product development," he said.