In Australia vanguard offers the LifeStrategy® Balanced Fund (a blend of bonds, shares and so on), it has a management fee of 0.9% per year for the first 50,000$, 0.6% for up to 100,000$ and 0.29% onward. The buy/sell spread cost is 0.1%.
However one can also buy the ETF equivalent, VDBA which has a management fee of 0.27% per year, the buy/sell spread would be whatever your broker charges you.
The first question is, why is this? if the ETF is effectively the same as investing into the fund, why would the fee be so different? It is true that with a buy/sell spread of 0.1% one can invest tiny amounts of money (the minimum additional investment is 100$) over time, having a dollar-average strategy, while with a broker you will easily be charged 10$ per operation.
The second question is, what am I missing here?