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Are mutual fund fees excessive?

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  • Adams, John C.
  • Mansi, Sattar A.
  • Nishikawa, Takeshi
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    Abstract

    There is a long running debate over whether competition in the mutual fund industry limits the ability of investment advisors to charge fees that are disproportionate to the services they provide. We posit that disproportionately high fees are prevalent in funds with multiple share classes and those with weak governance structures. Using a comprehensive sample of index mutual funds for the from 1998 to 2007, we find that internal governance mechanisms matter primarily for funds with relatively small share classes where investors often face increased search costs and/or restricted access to competitive mutual funds. Additionally, we find that funds managed by publicly held sponsors are associated with disproportionately higher fee spreads (about 28 basis points). The results are robust to the inclusion of board characteristics, share class structure, and investment objectives. Overall, our findings suggest that competition and agency considerations are important determinants in the pricing of mutual funds.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Banking & Finance.

    Volume (Year): 36 (2012)
    Issue (Month): 8 ()
    Pages: 2245-2259

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:jbfina:v:36:y:2012:i:8:p:2245-2259

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    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jbf

    Related research

    Keywords: Mutual funds; Fee spreads; Board structure; Shareholder litigation; Advisory fees;

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    References

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    1. Ali HortaƧ Su & Chad Syverson, 2004. "Product Differentiation, Search Costs, And Competition in the Mutual Fund Industry: A Case Study of S&P 500 Index Funds," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 119(2), pages 403-456, May.
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    8. Del Guercio, Diane & Dann, Larry Y. & Partch, M. Megan, 2003. "Governance and boards of directors in closed-end investment companies," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(1), pages 111-152, July.
    9. Kosowski, Robert & Timmermann, Allan & Wermers, Russ & White, Hal, 2005. "Can mutual fund stars really pick stocks? New evidence from a bootstrap analysis," CFR Working Papers 05-14, University of Cologne, Centre for Financial Research (CFR).
    10. Ivkovic, Zoran & Weisbenner, Scott, 2009. "Individual investor mutual fund flows," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(2), pages 223-237, May.
    11. James Choi & David Laibson & Brigitte Madrian, 2008. "Why Does the Law of One Price Fail? An Experiment on Index Mutual Funds," Yale School of Management Working Papers amz2369, Yale School of Management, revised 05 May 2008.
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    13. Nanda, Vikram K. & Wang, Z. Jay & Zheng, Lu, 2009. "The ABCs of mutual funds: On the introduction of multiple share classes," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 18(3), pages 329-361, July.
    14. Anderson, Ronald C. & Mansi, Sattar A. & Reeb, David M., 2003. "Founding family ownership and the agency cost of debt," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(2), pages 263-285, May.
    15. Iannotta, Giuliano & Navone, Marco, 2012. "The cross-section of mutual fund fee dispersion," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 36(3), pages 846-856.
    16. John C. Adams & Sattar A. Mansi & Takeshi Nishikawa, 2010. "Internal Governance Mechanisms and Operational Performance: Evidence from Index Mutual Funds," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 23(3), pages 1261-1286, March.
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    Cited by:
    1. Jonathan Wiley, 2014. "Illiquidity Risk in Non-Listed Funds: Evidence from REIT Fund Exits and Redemption Suspensions," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 49(2), pages 205-236, August.

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