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Distribution fees and mutual fund flows: Evidence from a natural experiment in the Indian mutual funds market

Author

Listed:
  • Santosh Anagol

    (Wharton)

  • Vijaya Marisetty

    (RMIT University)

  • Renuka Sane

    (Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research)

  • Buvaneshwaran Venugopal

    (C.T. Bauer College of Business, University of Houston)

Abstract

Mutual fund companies typically charge investors distribution fees, such as 12b-1 fees in the United States, which they then use to pay commissions to brokers. We evaluate a major Indian investor protection reform that limited the ability of mutual funds to charge distribution fees to pay broker commissions. We identify the impact of this policy change by comparing funds charging high distribution fees prior to the reform to those charging low distribution fees; we show that trends in asset growth across these groups prior to the reform were similar, and argue that a comparison of their asset growth after the reform is indicative of the policy impact. Contrary to industry claims that banning distribution fees would dramatically reduce investment in mutual funds, we find no evidence that the post-reform asset growth was lower for funds charging higher distribution fees prior to the reform. We primarily find that asset growth in funds with previously high distribution fees was higher after the policy change. At the aggregate level, our results suggest that Indian mutual fund growth in the post-policy period was lower for reasons independent of this policy change, such as a general move away from mutual funds towards real assets such as gold and real estate following the 2008 financial crisis.

Suggested Citation

  • Santosh Anagol & Vijaya Marisetty & Renuka Sane & Buvaneshwaran Venugopal, 2013. "Distribution fees and mutual fund flows: Evidence from a natural experiment in the Indian mutual funds market," Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, Mumbai Working Papers 2013-004, Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, Mumbai, India.
  • Handle: RePEc:ind:igiwpp:2013-004
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    File URL: http://www.igidr.ac.in/pdf/publication/WP-2013-004.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Monika Halan & Renuka Sane & Susan Thomas, 2014. "The case of the missing billions: estimating losses to customers due to mis-sold life insurance policies," Journal of Economic Policy Reform, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 17(4), pages 285-302, December.
    2. Monika Halan & Renuka Sane & Susan Thomas, 2013. "Estimating losses to customers on account of mis-selling life insurance policies in India," Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, Mumbai Working Papers 2013-007, Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, Mumbai, India.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    regulation; commission ban;

    JEL classification:

    • G23 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Non-bank Financial Institutions; Financial Instruments; Institutional Investors
    • G28 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Government Policy and Regulation

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