If you've put a bundle of cash intoa mutual fund through a broker, youmay have been entitled to a discountthat you never saw. A probe by theNational Association of SecuritiesDealers (NASD) has pinpointedsome brokerage houses that havefailed to pass along front-end loaddiscounts that many mutual fundsgive to big buyers. About 20% of the$6 trillion invested in mutual fundsis in front-end load funds. There can be a great deal of money involved—on a $200,000 fund buy,the difference between a 5.5% and a3% load adds up to $5000.
Although the NASD has not saidwhich brokerage firms are underinvestigation, it has sent letters to brokersreminding them of their duty tomake sure the proper discounts areapplied to large fund purchases. TheNASD's Expense Analyzer (www.nasdr.com/fund calc/expense_analyzers.asp) lets investors compare thefees and expenses they pay for mutualfunds. Unlike others, NASD's feecalculator also allows comparisonsbetween 2 funds or classes of funds atone time and tells the investor wherethe fees of a particular fund fall comparedwith industry averages.