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Schwab Unveils Commission-Free ETFs

Zacks Equity Research

In a move to change the dynamics of the U.S. exchange traded funds (ETFs), The Charles Schwab Corporation (SCHW) has announced the launch of a new platform – Schwab ETF OneSource. Through this platform investors and advisors will get access to nearly 105 ETFs without paying online trading commission.

Investors buying and selling ETFs online through the abovementioned platform will just be paying the operating expense that they would have paid anyway. The ETFs under the plan include funds managed by Guggenheim Investments, State Street Corporation (STT), ETF Securities, U.S. Commodity Funds and Schwab’s own ETF offerings.

Yet, some other popular ETFs – SPDR S&P 500, PowerShares QQQ and SPDR Gold Shares – are still not a part of the offering. However, more additions may take place in the platform going forward.

Concurrently, Schwab also unveiled a new portfolio building tool – Schwab ETF Portfolio Builder. This tool will help clients build all-ETF diversified portfolios to meet their investment requirements in a simple and affordable way. While choosing a particular risk profile, investors can modify the number of shares of each ETF and view its impact on their portfolio before buying it online.

Over the last few quarters, Schwab has been trying to augment its top line by becoming less dependent on interest rates. In Sep 2012, Schwab announced fee cuts on 15 of its ETFs in the range of approximately 17%–59% across its U.S. equity, international equity and bond ETFs.

ETF market is one of the fastest growing and highly promising markets for generating good returns. Hence, many companies have shown tremendous interest in these. Similar to Schwab, E*TRADE Financial Corporation (ETFC) and TD Ameritrade Holding Corporation (AMTD) also provide zero-commission ETFs to their clients.

Schwab currently retains a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

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