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Mutual Fund News

Fund fees that have fallen the most

rcarrick@globeandmail.com

WHAT WE'RE UP TO

Our mutual fund industry takes a lot of guff from certain quarters about how expensive it is to own funds in Canada versus other places. But fund fees are falling, even if most companies are strangely quiet about the reductions they have been passing through. Today, we take a look at some of the funds that have had their fees cut the most.

TODAY'S SEARCH

We start with all mutual funds that have five years of history. Next, we compare their most recently reported management expense ratios with their MERs from five years ago. The list below shows you the biggest MER decliners on a percentage basis over the past five years among funds with assets of more than $500-million.

SO WHAT DID WE TURN UP?

Let's first look at what we didn't turn up, which is many of the jumbo-sized funds that are most popular with investors and advisers. Fees on these funds have been edging lower, but not by enough to earn a ranking on our list. To be fair, these mega-funds tend to have reasonably competitive MERs that don't leave much room for dramatic cuts by a company with shareholders to keep fat and happy.

Notice how certain fund company names dominate the list. RBC Asset Management, one of the few fund companies out there to actually issue a news release when it cuts fees, owns four of the Top 20 spots, as does Mackenzie Financial. Anyone see Mackenzie's parent, Investors Group, on the list? Didn't think so.

Every time it lowers fees, a fund company makes its products more attractive. Example: The Manulife Money Fund has gone from a high-fee money market fund to a low-fee option that has been a steadily above-average performer. And then there's Templeton Emerging Markets, where the MER has gone from stupid high to merely high (the category average is 2.74 per cent).

Top 30 MER decliners As of Feb. 2003 As of Feb. 2008
Assets (000s)Last reportedLast reported
Fund nameFund category as of Feb 2008MERMERMERMER% change
Manulife Money FundCanadian Money Market621,20312/31/20021.1012/29/2006 0.79-28.18
Mackenzie Sen Cdn Mgd Yield ClassMiscellaneous929,6996/28/20021.266/29/2007 0.97-23.02
Tmpltn Emerging MarketsEmerging Markets Equity776,3772/28/20034.132/29/2008 2.97-20.34
Acuity High IncomeCanadian Equity Balanced1,272,4358/30/20022.871/31/2007 2.30-19.86
Mackenzie Sentinel Corporate BondHigh Yield Fixed Income504,8496/28/20022.006/29/2007 1.63-18.50
Mackenzie Sentinel BondCanadian Fixed Income586,2996/28/20021.996/29/2007 1.63-18.09
Dynamic Global DiscoveryGlobal Small/Mid Cap Equity683,21412/31/20023.326/29/2007 2.72-18.07
CI Signature Corporate BondHigh Yield Fixed Income565,6961/31/20022.842/29/2008 2.33-17.96
CI Synergy Canadian Corporate ClassCanadian Focused Equity1,464,9422/28/20032.842/29/2008 2.34-17.61
Dynamic Canadian Dividend FundCanadian Focused Equity1,190,71712/31/20022.946/29/2007 2.43-17.35
Scotia Partners Bal Inc & Gwth PortGlobal Neutral Balanced1,349,88412/31/20022.622/29/2008 2.17-17.18
RBC Asian EquityAsia Pacific Equity592,4372/28/20033.212/29/2008 2.69-16.20
Scotia Partners Moderate Gwth PortGlobal Equity Balanced1,472,99912/31/20022.782/29/2008 2.33-16.19
Mackenzie Cundill Glo Balanced 'C'Global Neutral Balanced855,2806/28/20022.826/29/2007 2.37-15.96
Counsel Balanced PortfolioGlobal Neutral Balanced703,3399/30/20023.242/29/2008 2.73-15.74
RBC Select GrowthGlobal Equity Balanced2,208,5852/28/20031.972/29/2008 1.67-15.23
RBC O'Shaughnessy U.S. GrowthU.S. Small or Mid Cap Equity520,6242/28/20031.852/29/2008 1.58-14.59
RBC O'Shaughnessy U.S. ValueU.S. Equity1,234,0712/28/20031.832/29/2008 1.57-14.21
Trimark Global EndeavourGlobal Small/Mid Cap Equity1,291,0102/28/20032.742/29/2008 2.36-13.87
TD Real Return BondCanadian Inflation Protected Fixed Income1,304,3952/28/20031.662/29/2008 1.43-13.86
Dynamic Value BalancedGlobal Equity Balanced575,72812/31/20022.826/29/2007 2.43-13.83
CIBC Canadian BondCanadian Fixed Income1,025,9102/28/20031.748/31/2007 1.50-13.79
CI Canadian Small/Mid CapCanadian Small or Mid Cap Equity695,51612/31/20012.692/29/2008 2.33-13.38
Mackenzie Cundill Recovery 'C'Global Small/Mid Cap Equity1,394,6196/28/20022.846/29/2007 2.46-13.38
TD International EquityInternational Equity704,4372/28/20032.812/29/2008 2.44-13.17
CI Signature Income & GrowthCanadian Equity Balanced2,367,7672/28/20032.682/29/2008 2.33-13.06
RBC Select BalancedGlobal Neutral Balanced4,684,2112/28/20031.932/29/2008 1.68-12.95
BMO Monthly IncomeCanadian Neutral Balanced5,788,9242/28/20031.699/28/2007 1.48-12.43
AGF European Equity ClassEuropean Equity1,299,82412/31/20023.322/29/2008 2.91-12.35
RBC O'Shaughnessy Canadian EquityCanadian Focused Equity1,819,4442/28/20031.722/29/2008 1.51-12.21

SOURCE: GLOBEFUND

© 2007 The Globe and Mail. All rights reserved.

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