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Pathfinder blazes way with fee cap

Boutique fund manager Pathfinder has capped the total annual fee expense for its Commodity Plus Fund at 1.3% in a move that the firm's principals, John Berry and Paul Brownsey, said "lifts the bar for market standards".

Friday, October 2nd 2009, 5:56AM

by David Chaplin

Brownsey said the 1.3% fee (GST included) would pay for all fund expenses, excluding transaction costs covered by a 0.75% buy/sell spread, such as investment management, audit and trustee fees. He said as the fund grows the actual expense ratio should come down closer to 1%.

"I can't think of too many other funds that have put a hard cap on their MER [management expense ratio]," Brownsey said. "It's not in the interests of many fund managers to be more rigorous around fee disclosure. But if there's more disclosure managers will be less able to charge costs back to the fund - it's the investors who are paying those costs."

Brownsey and Berry said the current fee disclosure regime was inadequate with some Australian unit trusts sold in New Zealand, for example, not revealing embedded fees.

"A manager should not be able to say there are no management fees, and yet be paid under another guise without any disclosure," Brownsey said in the statement. "Investors should be able to see all fees paid to the fund manager - the investment landscape is now all about transparency." 

As well, he said because performance fees were not required to be included in MERs the full cost to investors is often unclear. The Pathfinder Commodity Plus Fund does not charge performance fees or offer adviser commissions.

According to Brownsey, despite the lack of commissions many advisers have been recommending the Pathfinder product.

"They buy our funds on merit," he said. "The landscape has changed. Most advisers have seen the writing on the wall and are seeing that fee-for-service is the right way to do business."

 

 

« Couillault to establish new fundSovereign takes regulation bull by the horns »

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