E*TRADE has decided to discontinue its collection of index mutual funds. If you hold shares of ETSPX (S&P 500 index fund), ETRUX (Russell 2000 index fund), ETTIX (technology sector index fund), or ETINX (international index fund), E*TRADE or your broker will automatically sell your shares by March 27, 2009.
Even though index funds are likely the best way for most people to invest in the stock market thanks to low fees and returns that match the index, brokerages don’t have much motivation to offer them. Thanks to the low fees, fund managers don’t generate that much income. Without that income, the managers can’t advertise as prominently. E*TRADE’s S&P 500 index fund is quite competitive, with a expense ratio of 0.09%, lower than Vanguard‘s 0.15% for VFINX. But VFINX is much more popular.
E*TRADE will likely try to convert index fund customers to managed fund customers. That’s probably the only way for the company to make money. But keeping the customer in mind, I would recommend using the liquidated funds to buy the equivalent low-cost index fund from Vanguard or Fidelity.
Updated February 6, 2012 and originally published February 27, 2009. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.