The Pension Fund Advantage: Are Canadians Overpaying Their Mutual Funds?
10 Pages Posted: 28 Oct 2008
Date Written: October 1, 2008
The institutional structure through which individuals accumulate retirement savings is an important issue. Ideally, it is expert and low-cost. This article compares the cost-effectiveness of the pension fund structure with the mutual fund structure. The authors hypothesize that the pension fund structure provides investment management services at lower cost because most mutual funds are conflicted between providing good financial results for their clients and good financial results for their shareholders. Specifically, they compare the investment performance of a sample of domestic fixed income portfolios of Canadian pension funds with those of a sample of Canadian fixed income mutual funds. They find an average performance differential of 1.8 percent per annum in favor of pension funds. This performance gap is approximately equal to the average cost differential between the two approaches. They conclude that high mutual fund fees significantly reduce the net returns of mutual fund investors.
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