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Asset manager files to create ETF that will pay early customers

Salt Financial LLC wants to pay investors to put their money into one of its newest exchange-traded funds, at least for the time being.

On March 12, the New York-based asset manager filed with the SEC to create the Salt Low truBeta U.S. Market ETF. The investment vehicle, which will track the Salt Low truBeta U.S. Market Index, carries an annual management fee of negative 5 basis points, meaning that investors would receive $5 for investing $10,000 in the fund for one year.

The move marks new territory in the asset management industry's race to the bottom of investment fund pricing.

Asset managers large and small have been slashing costs on their investment products over the last several years as they look to stand out in the increasingly crowded investment market. In August 2018, Fidelity Investments launched the first mutual funds to carry no expense ratios. Just two weeks before Salt Financial's filing, Social Finance Inc. unveiled that it was creating the first zero-fee ETFs.

Salt Financial's ETF will not always pay its investors a rebate, though. In the filing, the company said that the fund's management fee will be waived until the product gathers $100 million in net assets or until April 30, 2020. Salt Financial will begin charging its investors a 29-basis-point management fee once one of those thresholds is breached.