Fidelity chops index target-date minimums, following Vanguard

Fidelity Investments on Tuesday dramatically reduced the minimum investments that 401(k)s and other DC plans need to qualify for the low-cost share class of its target-date index mutual fund series.

The Boston-based company, not wanting to be outdone by an identical move in December by its competitor Vanguard, matched its reduction for defined-contribution plans: In both cases, the investment minimums went from $100 million to $5 million.

“With this action, all Fidelity Freedom Index Funds will have total net expenses equal to or lower than comparable Vanguard index target date funds, regardless of investment level,” the announcement from Fidelity read.

The average expense ratio for Vanguard’s Institutional Target Retirement Funds is 9 basis points, while Fidelity charges 8 bps within its series, according to data from the firms.

Today’s investment-minimum reduction applies to Fidelity’s Institutional Premium Class.

Fidelity’s target-date index mutual fund series was 2020’s best seller, with net sales of $15.6 billion, up by 25% over 2019’s sales, according to a recent report from Morningstar.

[More: Target-date fund 2020 sales in red as CITs rose, older workers fled: Report]

Vanguard, meanwhile, saw sales down by 92% in its series, at $2.7 billion last year. However, many clients at that firm put money into the collective investment trust version of the series, which overall took in more than $19 billion, according to Vanguard.

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