As of Oct. 4, The Charles Schwab Corporation (SCHW) had $88.6 billion in exchange-traded fund (ETF) assets under management, making the California-based brokerage giant the fifth largest U.S. ETF sponsor. One of the primary reasons Schwab has been able to ascend to the upper echelon of ETF issuers in terms of size is the provider's willingness to compete with and in many cases beat rival sponsors when it comes to low fees.

Schwab bolstered its lineup of low-cost ETFs Thursday with news of the imminent introduction of the Schwab 1000 Index ETF (SCHK). The Schwab 1000 Index ETF is the ETF equivalent of the popular Schwab 1000 Index Fund (SNXFX). SCHK, the ETF, will debut on Oct. 11. The new Schwab 1000 Index ETF and the index fund both track the Schwab 1000 Index, which is a basket of the 1,000 largest U.S. companies by market capitalization. That index is an alternative to the widely followed Russell 1000 Index. (See also: Charles Schwab Undercuts Rivals With New ETF.)

"Companies are made to grow, and we launched the Schwab 1000 Index and mutual fund in 1991 to help investors participate in the innovation and long-term growth of the largest 1,000 stocks in the U.S. in a simple and cost-effective way," said Schwab founder and chairman Charles Schwab in a statement.

Like its index fund counterpart, SCHK will have an operating expense ratio of 0.05% per year, or $5 on a $10,000 investment. That makes SCHK significantly less expensive than the major ETFs tracking the Russell 1000 Index, which have expense ratios ranging from 0.1% to 0.15% per year. The Vanguard Russell 1000 ETF (VONE) has an annual fee of 0.12%. (For more, see: Pay Attention to Your Fund’s Expense Ratio.)

The Schwab 1000 Index "is designed to offer exposure to 100% of the U.S. large-cap space and 90% of the entire U.S. equity market. With a 26-year track record, the index has outperformed the S&P 500 Index, on an annualized basis, since its inception," said the company in the statement. The Schwab 1000 Index Fund currently holds 984 stocks, nearly 22% of which are technology names. Financial services and healthcare names combine for 28.6% of the fund's weight. Consumer discretionary and industrial stocks combine for 23%.

Investors can realize additional cost savings with SCHK when it debuts next week by trading the fund on Schwab ETF OneSource, the largest commission-free ETF platform in the brokerage industry. SCHK will be the 22nd ETF in Schwab's lineup. (See also: Exploring Schwab's Suite of Inexpensive U.S. Equity ETFs.)

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