Although industry watchers anticipate more competitive pricing, the major players say they have no plans to respond to the latest cut. A spokeswoman for BlackRock (BLK) says the firm has no plans to change EEM's pricing. Vanguard says its strategy does not include "temporary fee waivers."

Fox says mutual funds and ETFs will often waive fees, sometimes for an extended period of time, in order to attract long-term investors. Fox adds because the ETF universe is still relatively young, many firms are still experimenting with fee models.

Low fees among emerging-market ETFs, for example, are important to investors and their advisers because they offer a competitive edge in a quickly growing space, says Holtzman. Last year, an "explosion of ETFs" allowed him to give his clients more exposure to specific countries they couldn't otherwise access, he says. Ameriprise financial advisor Rich Atkison says he's increased his use of emerging-market ETFs to add international exposure to his clients' portfolios after paring down more traditional international holdings in Europe and Asia.

Holtzman expects to see more competitive pricing "across the board," but cautions that with smaller and newer ETFs, investors should be mindful of trading volume to make sure the cost of trading the products doesn't offset the savings of owning them.

Fox says investors should also remember that a low expense ratio has little to do with an ETF's total net return. Investors may spend less to own the fund, but their long-term returns hinge on the performance of the ETF itself.

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