So-called “smart beta” products are competing with asset managers, driving down the fees that many financial services firms are able to charge. The entire industry is taking note, as the monetary losses threaten asset managers across the board. The effect is especially notable on active fund managers, most of whom are unable to beat market cap indices with any sort of regularity, especially after charging their fees to clients.
The main strategy that smart data managers use is the accumulation of small companies that are mostly value stocks and low volatility equities. The thought is that these portfolios will always beat out market indices that are geared to profit off of capitalization indices. In order to compete with these more consistent smart beta managers, the traditional asset manager has to take a cut in fees.
There would be no problem within the industry if smart beta had not been accepted by clients, but the fact is that the technology is becoming more mainstream. Major financial watchdog firms are noting that new clients are moving towards the smart beta strategies.
Institutional investors are now securing a refund of more than 20% of the fees that they would normally pay asset managers through negotiation: that is the results of smart beta. Most financial experts believe that this fee negotiation is higher than in previous years. Even asset managers who had demonstrated superior performance were not able to procure any kind of premiums because of these new technologies.