Schwab keeps commission-free policy on ETF trading

NEW YORK, Aug 10 (Reuters) - Charles Schwab Corp said on Tuesday it has no plans to change its commission-free trading policy on in-house branded exchange traded funds (ETFs), a move that triggered a price war among retail brokerages.

Schwab SCHW.N launched eight ETFs in November that can be traded online without commission fees, in an effort to increase its presence in a booming corner of the financial markets.

When asked if Schwab would maintain a no-commission policy on its in-house ETFs, Peter Crawford, senior vice president at Schwab said: “Certainly it will continue at Schwab.”

Crawford, who is responsible for product management, development and wholesaling of all Schwab’s mutual funds, was a member of a panel discussing the ETF industry in New York.

He later told Reuters: “There are no plans for any (commission fees). This is not just a three or six month thing.”

Schwab launched three bond ETFs on Aug. 5.

Several retail brokerages including Vanguard Group, TD Ameritrade Holding Corp AMTD.O and Fidelity of Boston have recently slashed fees on ETF trading to seize market share.

"Seems it is a race to the bottom," Sue Thompson, the head of the registered investment advisory group at industry heavyweight iShares, said during the same conference. Money manager BlackRock Inc BLK.N bought iShares for $13.5 billion from Barclays Global Investors in late 2009. (Reporting by Daniel Bases; writing by Walter Brandimarte; editing by Andre Grenon)