Hartford Financial Services has decreased the fees associated with six of its mutual funds available to retail investors through advisors.

A share expense ratios on The Hartford Diversified International Fund are down 20 basis points to 1.45%; The Hartford Fundamental Growth Fund are down 15 basis points to 1.3%; The Hartford Global Research Fund dropped five basis points to 1.45%; The Hartford International Growth Fund is also down five basis points to 1.55%; The Hartford International Opportunities Fund now costs 1.3%, down 20 basis points; and The Hartford Value Fund charges 1.2%, down 20 basis points.

“I wouldn’t say it’s in response to anything else in the industry,” says Keith Sloane, senior vice president of The Hartford Mutual Funds. “But there is high demand for these products and we want to keep momentum going.”

Katie Rushkewicz, a mutual fund analyst at Morningstar, agrees that cutting costs for investors will make The Hartford more competitive, but adds, “I think they could have come down more.” Indeed, with these cuts, The Hartford has merely lowered its prices closer to industry category medians. Only The Hartford International Opportunities is in the lowest quintile in terms of fees. All the others are within five basis points, more or less, than their category medians.

“The Hartford has the brand,” Rushkewicz says, “but cost is still a factor for a lot of investors, and we’ve seen flows into funds that are the low-cost leaders. And I guess this is why more people are making the case for doing it yourself with no-load funds.”

Morningstar typically likes to see fund fees fall well below their category medians, especially larger funds, in order to recommend them. “To be very competitive, The Hartford’s expense ratios would have to fall into the first quintile,” Rushkewicz says.


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