Deutsche Bank cuts Europe ETF prices to win institutional business

FRANKFURT Mon Feb 10, 2014 3:24am EST

FRANKFURT Feb 10 (Reuters) - Deutsche Bank will cut commissions on four of its biggest European exchange-traded funds, or ETFs, in a move to take market share from rivals such as Vanguard and BlackRock and win over big institutional investors.

Deutsche Asset & Wealth Management (DAWM) aims to increase its German ETF market share to 20 percent from 12.5 percent by the end of 2015 and has rebuilt some of its most successful ETFs to hold shares rather than tracking indexes synthetically.

"We want to win over especially large institutional clients like pension funds, insurance companies and sovereign investors who have put little or no money in ETFs up to now," Simon Klein, managing director of asset management at DAWM, said.

Analyst Detlef Glow at fund research firm Lipper, a unit of Thomson Reuters, said: "It's a declaration of war ... With these four indices, Deutsche Bank is making the cheapest offer on the market."

Total cost for the four ETFs - which track the DAX, FTSE 100, Eurostoxx 50 and MSCI USA - will be 9 basis points, or 0.09 percent of assets, DAWM said in a statement. The company plans to expand the list of funds throughout the year.

That will match the lowest-priced European ETFs, offered by Vanguard and HSBC, both of which charge 9 basis points for their S&P 500-tracking ETFs.

And Deutsche will beat the price on Vanguard's FTSE 100 ETF, which at 10 basis points has until now been the cheapest in the market for that index.

The average cost to manage the 230-odd EFTs now on offer by Deutsche Bank is 32 basis points.

Investors and financial advisers have favoured low-priced, passively managed index funds over actively managed funds not only due to cost, but also because many active funds have underperformed the index-tracking ETFs.

"Up to now, ETFs were too expensive for pension funds to invest in. Many could build their own indices more cheaply. With Deutsche Bank's offer, ETFs will certainly become more attractive," Glow said.

Deutsche's biggest competitors in the ETF segment are BlackRock, the world's largest money manager, U.S.-based Vanguard and Lyxor, which belongs to French bank Societe Generale.

Deutsche Bank managed 931 billion euros at the end of 2013, placing it behind competitors including Bank of America, UBS und Credit Suisse.

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