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Fees and Loads

In the previous chapter, we saw one of the major components of cost involved in Mutual Funds – Expense Ratio. We saw that the costs incurred by fund houses in maintaining the portfolio are charged to the investors and a fixed percentage is calculated based on asset value of the fund and termed as expense ratio. While knowing the expense ratio is important before picking funds, you must also consider other fees and loads involved. So, in this chapter, we will brief you with all the fees and loads involved in mutual funds.


What can be a better example than buying a new house to understand the fees and loads better? So let us go 10 year ahead when Ranjit is buying his dream vacation house. When he visits the builder’s office, he discovers that the sea-view villa he selects has a hidden cost involved. The builder has changed his extra as a preferential location charge. This charge is levied for a house with a better view. You might be aware that even in hotels, the rooms with mountain views are charged higher than the rooms with backyard views, right? The same way properties include higher charges for better view.


Apart from that, there are multiple other costs charged by the builder on the property such as maintenance deposit, parking space, interiors, GST, Stamp Duty, Registration Fees, etc. While some of them are charged upfront, others are hidden. A buyer of a new house must be aware of all the charges a builder is levying upon him/her.


Now you must be wondering where you can find the list of all the charges levied upon by the builder at the time of buying a new house, aren’t you? Well, we cannot assure you about that here but we can definitely make you more aware about all the upfront and hidden costs involved in mutual funds by the end of this chapter.


The cost structure in mutual funds is a little complex. So, before starting an investment in mutual funds, it is necessary to understand all the cost components as it directly impacts the net return you earn from investing. Let us begin by first understanding what are load fees.

What is Fees and Loads?

The specific amount that you pay in addition to the investment value or sales proceeds at the time of buying or selling the units of mutual funds is called ‘load’. The mutual fund company charges you this fee in order to pay it forward to the advisor and the brokerage house for receiving their services. This amount can vary based upon the fund you choose to invest.


Transaction Fees, generally referred to as the Mutual Fund Fees, are the basic trading charges that are levied on investment assets like shares, ETFs and mutual fund units. It is a common cost irrespective of the type of investment option you pick. Transaction fees form a very small but a non-separable part of the total fees and charges levied on the mutual funds.

Front End and Back End Load

You must have heard of the terms ‘entry load’ and ‘exit load’ in relation to mutual funds. These are nothing but the front end and back end loads charged by the AMC at the time of entry and exit from the mutual fund investment, respectively. They are collectively known as Sales Loads. Let us understand these loads closely.



  • Front End Load: A charge that you pay at the time of first investing in a particular mutual fund is known as the front end load. You can compare this charge to an entry fee that you pay to step into a carnival. Once entered, you can buy whatever you want inside the carnival by shelling out more cash. Similarly, front end load is a one time entry fee imposed at the time of starting the first investment. Later, you can invest any amount you want without paying this load. Popularly, it is termed as entry load.


However, to foster the mutual funds sector in India, the SEBI has removed the condition of charging entry loads/front end loads. Nowadays, mutual funds do not charge front end loads.



  • Back End Load: Back end load, aka exit load, essentially is the amount charged at the time of withdrawing your mutual fund investment. The practice of charging back end loads has not stopped though, as it discourages investors to divest from mutual funds.


Exit loads are supposed to make the investors stay invested for a longer duration. The rate of exit load varies from fund to fund, and since it is not a mandatory charge, many funds do not charge exit load.

How Sales Loads Work?

Entry load and exit load are collectively referred to as sales loads. Let us understand the working of these charges with the help of an example.


Suppose you are planning to invest Rs. 1,00,000 in ABC Mid Cap Growth mutual fund. The AMC that manages this fund quotes the following charges on investment:


Expense Ratio = 1.6%

Entry Load = 1%

Exit Load = 3%


This means that when you make investment, you need to pay Rs. 1,01,000 (Rs. 1,00,000 + 1% Entry Load). Let us assume that you earn a return from this mutual fund at the rate of 12.5% per annum.


Now, when you sell your investment, the expense ratio of 1.6% and an exit load of 3% will be charged on the sale proceeds of your mutual fund investment. Your net proceeds will look something like this:


Particulars Amount Amount
Investment Value Rs. 1,00,000
Add: Entry Load @ 1% Rs. 1,000
Total Outflow Rs. 1,01,000
Gross Proceeds on Sale Rs. 1,12,500
Less: Expense Ratio @ 1.6% Rs. (1,800)
Less: Exit Load @ 3% Rs. (3,375)
Total Inflow Rs. 1,07,325


The above table explains how sales load works and how the implication of loads is reflected on net return you earn from the mutual funds.


Note: It is a hypothetical example for better understanding. Entry loads are not charged by the fund houses after SEBI’s disapproval.


Other Fund Expenses


Ranjit’s uncle recently bought a house property in Pune and ended up paying a huge cost towards the transfer fee charged by the society. This was a hidden cost he was unaware of. We do not want you to end up paying more towards the mutual fund investments and to make you aware of all the costs.


So here’s a list of costs, apart from the above mentioned fee loads, you must know.



  • Early Withdrawal/Redemption Charges: To encourage investors to stay invested for a longer period, AMCs charge early withdrawal fees or redemption charges if you sell your mutual fund units before the specified period.


  • One-time Charge: Though SEBI has done away with the entry load, some mutual fund companies charge one time fees for making the first transaction with them.


  • Account Fees: If the minimum balance is not maintained in the fund account, many AMCs charge you a fee. This amount is usually deducted from the remaining balance.


  • Switching Charges: If you change the scheme from one mutual fund to another, the AMC charges you a sum to cover administrative expenses. These are called switching charges.


  • Communication and Distribution Charges: This fee is charged to investors to recover the marketing and printing expenses of the fund. It helps keep the investor informed about the fund and its performance.

In nutshell

  • Fees and loads are charges and commission paid by the investors to the AMC towards the handling of their mutual funds investments.


  • There are two types of loads, front end load and back end load. Popularly, these loads are called entry load and exit load respectively.


  • Entry loads are typically charged at the time of initiating your mutual fund investment whereas exit charges are levied at the time of withdrawing the amount.


  • To promote mutual funds investment, the market regulator SEBI has disapproved AMCs from charging entry loads.


  • Apart from loads and transactional costs, there are upfront as well as hidden charges levied by mutual fund companies. You must understand all the charges before beginning to invest in a mutual fund.


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