THUMBS DOWN: Fund Fees Under Fire

Physician's Money Digest, April30 2003, Volume 10, Issue 8

Mutual fund fees didn't attractmuch attention when stocks were ona roll, but the entrenched bear markethas brought renewed focus onhow much funds charge you to investyour money. Some members ofCongress have called for a study bythe General Accounting Office, theinvestigative arm of Congress, whicha few years ago urged funds to do abetter job of disclosing their fees toshareholders. During the bear market,many funds have upped fees tomaintain income as asset basesshrink; the average fee has gone upfrom 1.37% of assets in 2000 to1.46% last year. Although small, theincrease has made negative resultseven worse. One issue is hidden costs(eg, trading commissions), which addto expenses but don't show up in afund's expense ratio.