Trends and determinants of Australian managed fund transaction costs

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Abstract

The present paper examines the often-overlooked managed fund fee that is incurred when investors enter and exit managed fund products. The present paper documents that transaction costs for investors, measured by the application-redemption spread, are above stock market brokerage rates although they have declined since 1995. The study analyses the relationship between this transaction fee and several variables. In summary, retail fund transaction costs are positively related to retail funds’ assets under management, whilst this relationship is negative for larger wholesale funds, consistent with economies of scale. Direct entry and exit fees and initial commissions are positively related to transaction costs which raises the possibility that the commissions are used to levy soft-dollar payments. The paper also documents a relationship between transaction costs and fund flows which differs between retail and wholesale funds. Overall, the findings are consistent with the proposition that the various fees are used by managers as interchangeable and the different fee regimes reflect different products and markets.

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