Expense ratio: How to get the most out of your mutual fund investment?

# Expense ratio: How to get the most out of your mutual fund investment?

Updated: 19 Feb 2023, 10:31 AM IST
TL;DR.

## The expense ratio of a mutual fund is an important factor to consider when investing. It measures the percentage of assets taken out as fees each year and can vary greatly depending on the type of fund.

The expense ratio is the percentage of a mutual fund’s assets that are used for management and other expenses such as marketing, administration, and custodial fees.

Mutual funds have been an increasingly popular investment option for many years, but have you ever stopped to consider the expense ratio associated with them?

The expense ratio is a critical factor in determining whether or not a mutual fund will be successful for investors. Understanding what it means and how to determine the best expense ratio for your individual financial goals is essential.

When making an investment decision, it can be easy to overlook the various fees associated with investing. However, the expense ratio is an important metric that investors should pay attention to when assessing a mutual fund.

Let us understand it in detail.

## What is an expense ratio?

The expense ratio is the percentage of a mutual fund’s assets that are used for management and other expenses such as marketing, administration, and custodial fees.

The expense ratio measures how much of your investment is being used to cover the cost of managing the fund. It reflects the percentage of assets taken out as fees each year, and this amount can vary greatly depending on the type of fund.

To calculate expense ratio, divide the total operating expenses of a mutual fund by its total assets and multiply the result by 100. The formula for expense ratio is:

Expense Ratio = (Total operating expenses/Total assets) x 100

For example, if a mutual fund has total operating expenses of Rs.500 and total assets of Rs. 10,000, then the expense ratio would be calculated as follows:

Expense Ratio = (500 / 10,000) x 100 = 5%

## What are the types of expenses included in the expense ratio?

The types of expenses included in the expense ratio can vary depending on the type of fund, but generally include fund manager’s fee, legal/audit fee, marketing/distribution fee, 12B-1 fee, administrative expenses, custodial fees and redemption fees.

1. Fund manager’s fee is a major cost component of the expense ratio and is used to compensate the fund manager for actively managing the fund’s portfolio. This fee can be higher or lower depending on the type of fund and its investment objective.
2. Legal/audit fee covers the cost of complying with regulations and laws, as well as legal checks and transfers.
3. Marketing/distribution fee covers the cost of marketing the fund and its distribution through intermediaries like brokers and distributors.
4. The 12B-1 fee is an annual fee charged by some funds to cover the cost of marketing and distributing the fund’s shares.
5. Administrative expenses consist of operating expenses such as accounting, auditing and other overhead costs.
6. Custodial fees are charged for safekeeping and maintaining the fund’s assets, while redemption fees are charged when investors redeem their shares from the fund.

## What is the importance of understanding expense ratios?

When investing in a mutual fund, it is important to understand the expense ratio associated with it. This is because the expense ratio can have a significant impact on your potential returns.

A higher expense ratio means that there will be less money available to generate returns. This means that the return on investment (ROI) could be lower than if the expense ratio was lower. It is also important to consider the expense ratio when comparing funds.

For example, if two funds have similar investments and performance, but one has a higher expense ratio than the other, then it would be wiser to invest in the fund with the lower expense ratio to maximize potential returns.

## How to minimize expense ratios?

There are several ways to minimize the expense ratio associated with a mutual fund. One way is to invest in funds that have low expense ratios. Low-cost index funds are one type of fund that typically has a low expense ratio. Exchange-traded funds (ETFs) are another type of fund that often has a lower expense ratio than actively managed funds.

Another way to minimize expense ratios is to invest in funds that offer discounts or fee waivers. Many mutual fund companies offer discounts on their expense ratios for investors who meet certain criteria.

For example, some companies may offer discounted expense ratios to investors who invest a certain amount into their funds, while others may waive their fees for investors who maintain a certain balance in their accounts.

Finally, investors can minimize the impact of the expense ratio by investing for the long term. Over time, the effects of the expense ratio will become less noticeable as the overall return on investment increases.

## Conclusion

The expense ratio of a mutual fund is an important factor to consider when deciding which fund to invest in. A higher expense ratio means that there will be less money available to generate returns, potentially resulting in a lower return on investment.

Investors should strive to minimize the expense ratio by investing in funds with low expense ratios, taking advantage of discounts and fee waivers, and investing for the long term.

By understanding how the expense ratio works and how to minimize it, investors can make more informed decisions about their investments and maximize their potential returns.

We explain how many mutual funds are too many.
First Published: 19 Feb 2023, 10:31 AM IST