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It's rare to see Wall Street fees come down — but when it comes to fund managers, that's exactly what's happening, at a quite astonishing pace.

Expand chart
Data: Investment Company Institute; Chart: Harry Stevens/Axios

The state of play: The Investment Company Institute is the best source of data on asset-weighted average expense ratios — that is, the amount that investors, in aggregate, pay ETF and mutual fund managers to look after their money.

By the numbers: As recently as 2003, investors were paying 1% of their money every year to the people buying and selling stocks on their behalf. That number has now been cut in half, with equity funds charging just 55 basis points on average. (A basis point is a hundredth of a percentage point.)

  • Target date funds are even better value, with fees having come down to 40bp in 2018. These funds invest in a mixture of bonds and stocks, with the proportion invested in stocks falling as you near retirement.
  • Expect these trends to continue. Most Americans are still invested in actively managed ETFs and mutual funds, which carry higher fees. As assets under passive investment continue to grow, the downward pressure on fees will continue.

The bottom line: With $3.4 trillion invested in ETFs and $3.3 trillion in mutual funds, every 10bp of fee reduction means a savings of $6.7 billion per year for American investors.

Go deeper

Woman who allegedly stole laptop from Pelosi's office to sell to Russia is arrested

Photo: FBI

A woman accused of breaching the Capitol and planning to sell to Russia a laptop or hard drive she allegedly stole from Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office was arrested in Pennsylvania's Middle District Monday, the Department of Justice said.

Driving the news: Riley June Williams, 22, is charged with illegally entering the Capitol as well as violent entry and disorderly conduct. She has not been charged over the laptop allegation and the case remains under investigation, per the DOJ.

Biden will reverse Trump's attempt to lift COVID-related travel restrictions

Photo: Tasos Katopodis via Getty

The incoming Biden administration will reverse President Trump's last-minute order to lift COVID-19 related travel restrictions, Jen Psaki, the incoming White House press secretary, tweeted.

Why it matters: President Trump ordered entry bans lifted for travelers from the U.K., Ireland, Brazil and much of Europe to go into effect Jan. 26, but the Biden administration will "strengthen public health measures around international travel in order to further mitigate the spread of COVID-19," Jen Psaki said. Biden will be inaugurated on Wednesday, Jan. 20 and Trump will no longer be president by the time the order is set to go into effect.

Dominion sends cease and desist letter to My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell

Photo: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Dominion Voting Systems on Monday sent a cease and desist letter to My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell over his spread of misinformation related to the 2020 election.

Why it matters: Trump and several of his allies have pushed false conspiracy theories about the company, leading Dominion to take legal action. It's suing pro-Trump lawyer Sidney Powell for defamation and $1.3 billion in damages, and a Dominion employee has sued Trump himself, OANN and Newsmax.