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American Fidelity Mortgage Services

American Fidelity Mortgage Services, Inc.

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New York regulators reject Fidelity's acquisition of Stewart

New York regulatory approval is a closing condition for the transaction between the nation's largest (in Fidelity National) and fourth largest (Stewart) title underwriters.

The two title insurers combined accounted for 44% of the industry's written premiums, Kroll Bond Rating Agency's 2019 outlook said. "Although the transaction is expected to close in the first or second quarter of 2019, KBRA believes that regulators may have concerns over a combined 44% market share. This does not mean the deal will not got through, but some concessions and/or divestitures would likely be needed," the outlook continued.

Based on pro forma title orders opened information from the third quarter, the combination's market share would be more than double No. 2 First American.

Both Fidelity and Stewart "are evaluating the appropriate course of action in light of the NYDFS' determination, which may include a discussion with the NYDFS to better understand its concerns and respond to the letter," Fidelity's regulatory filing said.

Online Lender SoFi Debuts Two Free ETFs

Online lender Social Finance (SoFi) is launching two free exchange-traded funds (ETFs). Citing regulatory filings, Bloomberg reported that the funds — set to waive management charges for at least the first year — will focus on U.S. stocks.

The funds are free until at least March 27, 2020, with the waived fee being listed in the filing as 0.19 percent. While the funds are branded by SoFi, they are actually being issued through a trust, with Toroso Investments serving as the investment advisor, Exponential ETFs running the funds on a daily basis and Solactive creating the benchmarks.

Fidelity Investments was the first to offer free mutual funds last year, with those assets reaching $1 billion. Right now, the cheapest ETFs charge $.30 for every $1,000 invested. Together, three issuers — BlackRock, State Street and Charles Schwab — comprise 60 percent of the $3.7 trillion market in U.S. ETFs, while The Vanguard Group, which charges $.40, makes up another 26 percent.

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