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Mutual Fund Mortality, 12b-1 Fees, And The Net Expense Ratio


  • William P. Dukes
  • Philip C. English
  • Sean M. Davis


The Securities and Exchange Commission is currently reviewing Rule 12b-1, which governs how fund advisors may pay for the distribution of fund shares. We provide evidence that even after adjusting for economies of scale, funds with 12b-1 fees have higher expense ratios net of the 12b-1 fees than do funds without such fees. This finding suggests that 12b-1 fees are more than just a deadweight cost. We also demonstrate that 12b-1 fees are highest for funds that ultimately fail, that the proportion of funds with 12b-1 fees is increasing over time, and that the level of those fees is also increasing over time. 2006 The Southern Finance Association and the Southwestern Finance Association.

Suggested Citation

  • William P. Dukes & Philip C. English & Sean M. Davis, 2006. "Mutual Fund Mortality, 12b-1 Fees, And The Net Expense Ratio," Journal of Financial Research, Southern Finance Association;Southwestern Finance Association, vol. 29(2), pages 235-252.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jfnres:v:29:y:2006:i:2:p:235-252

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    Cited by:

    1. Philip C. English II & Ilhan Demiralp & William P. Dukes, 2011. "Mutual Fund Exit and Mutual Fund Fees," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 54(3), pages 723-749.
    2. Martin Rohleder & Hendrik Scholz & Marco Wilkens, 2010. "Survivorship Bias and Mutual Fund Performance: Relevance, Significance, and Methodical Differences," Review of Finance, European Finance Association, vol. 15(2), pages 441-474.
    3. Iannotta, Giuliano & Navone, Marco, 2012. "The cross-section of mutual fund fee dispersion," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 36(3), pages 846-856.
    4. Han, Jae-Joon & Kang, Kyeong-Hoon & Won, Seungyeon, 2013. "Fund expenses and vertical structures of the fund industry," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 35(C), pages 856-864.
    5. Sophie Xiaofei Kong & Dragon Yongjun Tang, 2008. "Unitary Boards And Mutual Fund Governance," Journal of Financial Research, Southern Finance Association;Southwestern Finance Association, vol. 31(3), pages 193-224.
    6. Monika K. Rabarison, 2016. "New insights into mutual fund brokerage commissions," Journal of Economics and Finance, Springer;Academy of Economics and Finance, vol. 40(3), pages 492-513, July.

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