Too Revealing?

The scoop on funds of funds.
Magazine Contributor
2 min read

This story appears in the June 2007 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Funds of funds--which spread their investment dollars across other mutual funds rather than stocks or bonds--have gained a significant following in recent years. Life-style funds and targeted-maturity funds in particular have been popping up in retirement accounts from coast to coast.

But in the name of transparency, an SEC rule that went into effect July 31, 2006, threatens to put the brakes on that growth. The new rule mandates that starting in 2007, fund companies must include in their expense ratios not only their top-line management fees, but also the underlying costs of the funds in which they invest. In other words, the (fictional) Generic Fund might charge you 1.5 percent in expenses to assemble a portfolio of other funds. And that's all it would have listed in the expense ratio last year. But this year, Generic Fund will also have to break out the expense ratios of the funds in which it invests your dollars, which might bump the total up to 4 percent. Even though nothing about the fund management changed, it looks more expensive on paper.

Heavies like Fidelity Investments, T. Rowe Price and Vanguard can rig the system by investing only in their own funds and waiving management fees--so their funds of funds look (and, in fact, are) cheaper than competitors' offerings. But your boutique fund's all-in-one asset allocation doesn't really cost you more than last year, despite appearances to the contrary. So if the higher expense ratio makes you squirm, you probably shouldn't have invested there in the first place.

More from Entrepreneur

David provides constructive insight to help businesses focus on their company growth, build brand awareness and know when and how to raise money.
Book Your Session

In as little as seven months, the Entrepreneur Authors program will turn your ideas and expertise into a professionally presented book.
Apply Now

Are paying too much for business insurance? Do you have critical gaps in your coverage? Trust Entrepreneur to help you find out.
Get Your Quote Now

Latest on Entrepreneur

My Queue

There are no Videos in your queue.

Click on the Add to next to any video to save to your queue.

There are no Articles in your queue.

Click on the Add to next to any article to save to your queue.

There are no Podcasts in your queue.

Click on the Add to next to any podcast episode to save to your queue.

You're not following any authors.

Click the Follow button on any author page to keep up with the latest content from your favorite authors.