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Monday, June 16, 2008

Mutual Funds: Cutting the Number of Unitholders Lowers the MER

In today's Globe and Mail, columnist Rob Carrick points out that mutual funds with a high barrier to entry have better returns. By a high barrier to entry, we typically mean a large initial investment. Are these fund managers any better than the norm? Perhaps yes, but Rob does point out that these particular funds do have smaller MERs. He speculates that such funds have fewer investors, and so mundane costs such as statements and mailings are less and thus is reflected in the lower MERs. In my opinion, this finding just provides more support for funds such as TD efunds which cut the paper mailings to zero and passes the savings on to investors in the form of low MERs. I have heard that a typical mutual fund account incurs printing/mailing costs on the order of about $50 per account per year. Seems high, but does anybody out there have a better number? On an average investment of $5000, that's a full percent.

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