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Fees are destroying investor wealth

New research has found the consequences that fees can have on an investment and how higher fees do not necessarily correlate with performance.
By · 16 Oct 2018
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16 Oct 2018 · 5 min read
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Written by Eliot Hastie, this article discussed InvestSMART's White Paper "How Fees Can Destroy Your Wealth". The following article appeared in Investor Daily on October 16, 2018.

Research from digital wealth provider InvestSMART has found that over a 30-year time period an investor paying 3 percent in ongoing fees would lose 56 per cent of their portfolio.

The data modelling in How fees can destroy your wealth found that an investment of $100,000 in Australia shares over 30 years to June 2018 would net $1,207,807 with a fee of 0.5 of a percentage point, while a 1.5 per cent fee would net 26 per cent less.

The paper found 78 per cent of active funds underperformed industry standard benchmarks over 10 years with the average fee for achieving the underperformance was 1.74 per cent.

The 22 per cent of active managers that did beat their benchmarks tended to have lower fees the research found.

InvestSMART chief executive Ron Hodge said most funds would not outperform the benchmark, which meant fees would make the biggest difference in a portfolio.

“The impact for investors is huge. The money is lost to fees, and the corresponding loss of the benefits of compounding ends up in the pockets of the middlemen and women of finance,” he said.

Mr Hodge said the high costs of investing was caused by fee stacking which in many cases equalled 2 per cent per annum.

“We want to help investors to understand the depth and the extent of the fees they are paying and the impact it has on their savings over time, because a small number can make a big difference,” he said.

Mr Hodge said that InvestSMART offered a range of options for investors including low fee options that he said would outperform the competition.

“We will underperform our benchmark we know that, but we will outperform our peers to the differential in fees. Over the long-term that makes a big difference,” he said.

InvestSMART has launched a portfolio manager tool that rated the health of a portfolio to alert to danger as well as a Compare Your Fund tool that lets people find out if they are paying too much.

“As technology continues to level the playing field for investors, we believe there is no reason anyone in this day and age should be paying excessive fees,” Mr Hodge said.

“That is why InvestSMART is currently investing heavily in a range of technology-based products to help investors lower the cost of investing.”

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