Mutual Funds Fees Around the World
45 Pages Posted: 8 May 2006
Date Written: July 23, 2007
Using a new database, we study fees charged by 46,580 mutual fund classes offered for sale in 18 countries, which account for about 86% of the world fund industry in 2002. We examine management fees, total expense ratios, and total shareholder costs (which include load charges). Fees vary substantially across funds and from country to country. To explain these differences, we consider fund, sponsor, and national characteristics. Fees differ by investment objectives; larger funds and fund complexes charge lower fees; fees are higher for funds distributed in more countries and funds domiciled in certain offshore locations (especially when selling into countries levying higher taxes). Substantial cross-country differences persist even after controlling for these variables. These remaining differences can be explained by a variety of factors, the most robust of which is that fund fees are lower in countries with stronger investor protection.
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