Fidelity Says ETF Issuers Complying With New Fees

Fidelity Says ETF Issuers Complying With New Fees

ETF issuers fall in line to pay "support fees" after threat of added charges from Fidelity.

Wealth Management Editor
Reviewed by: Staff
Edited by: Ron Day

Two months after offering an ultimatum to nine ETF issuers that had not yet conformed to Fidelity Investments’ platform fees, the Boston-based financial services conglomerate confirmed all issuers are now complying with the “support fees.”

In a March 28 memo, Fidelity cited 59 exchange-traded funds from nine different issuers that would be charged a $100 transaction fee if the issuers didn’t agree to pay support fees equal to 15% of the ETFs’ expense ratios. Fidelity, based in Boston, manages $74.4 billion in 70 exchange-traded funds.

The transaction fees, which would have only applied to ETF purchases and not sales, were scheduled to begin June 3. The memo, which was obtained by, sent shock waves across the financial services industry for its resemblance to commissions and a message that appeared counter to the low-cost nature of ETFs.

The firms listed in the memo included Simplify Asset Management, AXS Investments, Day Hagan Asset Management, Sterling Capital, Cambiar Investors, Regents Park Funds, Rayliant Funds, Adaptive ETFs and Running Oak Capital.

Fidelity's Potential $100 Fee to ETF Issuers

While the memo was not intended for public distribution, news of possible $100 transaction fees for ETFs put pressure on ETFs issuers to fall in line.

Matt Markiewicz, managing director at AXS Investments in Port Chester, N.Y., said he received calls from financial advisors and that the memo “caused some confusion.”

AXS, a boutique ETF issuer with $1.1 billion under management, has agreed to pay the support fees. Markiewicz described the fees as “being a lot less than you’d think.”

For example, applying the 15% fee to the $62 million AXS Astoria Inflation Sensitive ETF (PPI), which charges 76 basis points, would add up to about $700 for Fidelity.

“The decision to harmonize some of our fee policies comes as our level of support and service for ETFs across the industry is growing rapidly," a Fidelity spokesperson said in an emailed response. 

The Fidelity spokesperson described support fees as helping to “provide exceptional value and customer service for all products on our platform, which operates with research tools, technology capabilities, and security measures to drive a positive experience for investors.”

Jeff Benjamin is the wealth management editor at, responsible for coverage related to the financial planning industry. This includes writing, hosting podcasts, webinars, video interviews and presenting at in-person events.

Jeff is a veteran journalist with more than 30 years’ experience covering the financial markets. He has won more than two dozen national and regional awards for his reporting. He most recently worked as a senior columnist at InvestmentNews where he wrote about investment products and strategies, as well as the broader financial planning industry. Prior to that, Jeff worked as an analyst at Cerulli Associates where he researched and wrote reports on the alternative investments industry. Jeff also worked as a money management reporter at Dow Jones Newswires, where he covered the mutual fund industry.

Based in North Carolina, Jeff is a former Marine and has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Central Michigan University.