Some funds call themselves “no-expense” or “zero-expense” funds or emphasize their low expense ratios without mentioning other costs investors pay—either directly or indirectly— when investing in the fund.
For example, the fee table in a fund’s prospectus may show no fees for sales or distribution because others, including affiliates of the fund’s investment adviser, may instead be collecting fees for those services. An investor in such a fund may pay these as separate investment fees, such as commissions paid to a broker for the purchase of fund shares or fees paid to an adviser based on a percentage of assets in a wrap fee program.
Also, there may be other costs investors pay indirectly that are not included in the fund’s expense ratio, such as costs associated with the fund’s securities lending activities or transaction costs that the fund pays when it buys and sells its underlying securities.
These additional costs and expenses can reduce the value of your investment.