Mutual fund and ETF managers are hoping new products, in-house indexes and other tactics will bolster their bottom lines in the face of increased fee pressure, according to a new report by Cerulli Associates.

Asset managers are trying to adapt to fee compression by, among other things, trying to increase scale, broaden product offerings and, in the case of ETF companies, by developing indexes themselves instead of paying licensing fees to outside indexing firms, Cerulli said.

"To retain margins, mutual fund managers are implementing new strategies to boost client acquisition and build scale to offset revenue compression from lower expenses," Cerulli said in a press release.

The asset management industry has been engulfed in a fee-reduction war in recent years, culminating with the elimation of fee altogether in some products. One of the chief factors fueling the trend, according to Cerulli, is that consumers have been gradually becoming more aware of what they're spending on such fees.

Illustrating this fee awakening, Cerulli cited a survey it did this year that found 45% of investors either were not aware of how much they pay for financial advice or thought they were getting the advice for free. That is down from 65% in a survey taken in 2014, the Boston-based research firm said.

The greater fee awareness is partly due to marketing campaigns by retail direct investor platforms—a category dominated by retail financial giants Charles Schwab, Fidelity, Vanguard and TD Ameritrade, according to the report said.

“These platforms are touting low trading costs and highlighting the higher fees of other financial companies with broad, visible media campaigns,” Brendan Powers, associate director of product development at Cerulli, said in a prepared statement.

The mutual fund and ETF industries are each adopting tactics to deal with the fee pressure, the report said.

A Cerulli survey found that 67% of mutual fund managers are reducing expenses through temporary expense waivers, the report said. Other tactics in this group include permanently reducing portfolio management fees (39%) and reducing their transfer agent fee (11%).

Eighty percent of fund managers said they plan to expand into other investment vehicles, such as ETFs and collective investment trusts, to increase scale and decrease costs, the report said.

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