Investing Dictionary #3: Expense Ratio

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Expense Ratio is a rare word to stumble upon, it is a word prevalent in-between companies and it varies on more private talks the market community has seen. So going back to Expense Ratio, it is actually a measure of what it costs an investment company to operate a mutual fund.

You may ask how expense ratio is determined; well according to the Investopedia: An expense ratio is determined through an annual calculation, where a fund’s operating expenses are divided by the average dollar value of its assets under management (AUM). Operating expenses are taken out of a fund’s assets and lower the return to a fund’s investors. It is also known as the management expense ratio (MER).

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All You Need To Know About Expense Ratio

Expense ratio varies very differently on each type of fund, operating expenses vary widely. One of the biggest parts or the crucial component of operating expenses lies on the fee paid to a fund’s investment manager or advisor.

Further costs include recordkeeping, custodial services, taxes, legal expenses, and accounting and auditing fees. Investopedia makes a clear distinction between funds, “expenses that are charged by the fund as reflected in the fund’s daily net asset value (NAV) and do not appear as a distinct charge to shareholders.”

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Funds to Keep In Mind

There are two different expense ratio fund; Index Funds and Actively Managed Funds are both type of funds to keep a list on. Index Funds usually carry very low expense ratios; the managers who oversee these funds are plainly repeating a given index, so the need to have a full management team on staff is deliberately discarded.

Actively managed funds, on the other hand, employs teams of research analysts examining companies as potential investments. By coming up with a team, creating and managing this team adds more costs that are then get passed on to shareholders in the form of higher and bigger expense ratios.

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