No, but if we look at the brokerage + platform + spread costs they really are minimal. ABSA's ETF only account charges 0.2% brokerage. There's no platform cost, and the spread for ASHT40 is just 0.14%.

I just ran a trial transaction on R10000 worth of ASHT40 and the total cost came to R36, so a 0.36% fee. Works out nicely if we add the spread of 0.14% we get to a total transaction cost of 0.5%.

Now R10 000 over the next 30 years + 900000 will give us a total purchase value of R4.5 million. 0.5% of that is just R22500. That barely makes a blip on the radar, the ETF is the way to go.

I know Magda from Sygnia keeps pushing her unit trusts, but even though I'm a huge fan of hers, she's not right in saying ETFs are more expensive. That's only true if the ETF and the unit trust have the same TER, but with Sygnia's 0.4% TER vs Ashburtons 0.18% TER there is just no contest. The ETF wins hands down by nearly R750k using the example in the article, and reducing the contributions by 0.5% a month.

You can see the two calculations for

Sygnia here and

Ashburton here.