Yoav Zurelage 29
CEO and co-founder, FeeX Inc.
Fee compression isn’t an abstract idea: It takes form in people such as Yoav Zurel, the brash, young co-founder of FeeX Inc.
Mr. Zurel believes people are unknowingly giving up a lot of money in fees, and it’s standing in the way of their happiness in retirement.
“The market is asymmetric,” he said. “The financial industry knows everything, and as consumers, we know nothing.”
An examination of the fees paid by his parents confirmed to him that he’d stumbled onto a problem that is both meaningful and big. They paid a third of their retirement savings in fees, he said.
He started a service that tells investors exactly how much they are paying in fees, and how to reduce them. In addition to switching to lower-cost mutual funds, he informs the public that adviser fees aren’t always static.
“These fees that you pay to your adviser are negotiable, and you should revisit them,” he said. “If you’re paying 1% to your adviser, you can reduce that to half a percent.”
“Easy. You just need to ask your adviser for a discount,” he said. “It’s a competitive market.”
Mr. Zurel said he wasn’t looking to start a business, and so far he hasn’t, exactly. FeeX is free, although a premium feature is coming.
The cheerful warrior concedes he’s fighting a “constant uphill battle” to change the industry. “There are forces in the industry that would like it to stay opaque,” he said. “These forces don’t really like what we’re doing.”
— Trevor Hunnicutt