The Total Expense Ratio: The Reality of Distribution Fees 'Behind the Mutual Fund Curtain'

Journal of Wealth Management, The Total Expense Ratio: The Reality of Distribution Fees 'Behind the Mutual Fund Curtain', Vol, 21, No. 3, pp. 37-43 (Winter 2018)

Posted: 1 May 2019 Last revised: 17 Sep 2019

See all articles by John A. Haslem

John A. Haslem

University of Maryland - Robert H. Smith School of Business

Date Written: March 17, 2019

Abstract

This study uses the portion of a new Total Expense Ratio construct that discloses the reality of adviser/distributor payments of hidden distribution fees to sales brokers "behind the mutual fund curtain". Distribution fees consist of dealer (broker) concessions, accounts servicing (12b-1 fees), types of revenue sharing payments, and soft-dollar trades. Distribution fees are one of four categories in the Total Expense Ratio, the others being (1) management fees, (2) "other" expenses, and (3) transaction costs. Adoption of the complete Total Expense Ratio with normative transparency of disclosure followed by prohibition of 12b-1 fees, revenue sharing payments, and soft-dollar trading requires strong action by fund independent directors, the fund industry, the fund industry, most importantly, by Congress and the SEC.Only a few fund advisers are likely to join in this effort to change their very profitable status quo. However, as the article maintains, fund shareholders deserve to receive their "fiduciary protections" under the law at the TER may be useful in the regard.

JEL Classification: G2,G23,G28

Suggested Citation

Haslem, John A., The Total Expense Ratio: The Reality of Distribution Fees 'Behind the Mutual Fund Curtain' (March 17, 2019). Journal of Wealth Management, The Total Expense Ratio: The Reality of Distribution Fees 'Behind the Mutual Fund Curtain', Vol, 21, No. 3, pp. 37-43 (Winter 2018), Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3354088

John A. Haslem (Contact Author)

University of Maryland - Robert H. Smith School of Business ( email )

College Park, MD 20742
United States
202-387 2025 (Phone)

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