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The etf usually relies on your broker to hold the shares and provide any customer service. And often you pay a commission to buy and sell shares (although some brokers now will buy/sell some etfs for free).

Mutual fund companies have 800 numbers you can call and get immediate help. Not so etfs. Your statements come from the mutual fund company. Etf statements come from your broker.

So etfs should have lower expense ratios to account for the reduced service they provide.
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