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The Cost of Mutual Fund Distribution Fees

  • Livingston, Miles
  • O'Neal, Edward S
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    Many individuals purchase shares in mutual funds as investments. With a lack of evidence supporting performance persistence in fund returns, investors should consider expenses as a fund-selection tool since fund expenses have a negative effect on fund returns. One of the largest expenses incurred by fund investors is distribution expenses, which include both load charges and annual fees. Close to two-thirds of all equity funds charge investors for fund distribution. The true cost of these distribution fees to investors is hard to measure because a myriad of distribution arrangements have evolved that vary both the timing and magnitude of distribution charges. We derive a simple methodology that expresses the present value of distribution costs as a percentage of the original investment in fund shares for any expected holding period. This methodology allows direct comparison of the effect on investors of distribution fees for mutual funds with different types of sales arrangements.

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    Article provided by Southern Finance Association & Southwestern Finance Association in its journal Journal of Financial Research.

    Volume (Year): 21 (1998)
    Issue (Month): 2 (Summer)
    Pages: 205-18

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    Handle: RePEc:bla:jfnres:v:21:y:1998:i:2:p:205-18
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