Mutual Funds: Understanding What is Total Expense Ratio (TER)

Markets regulator, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), states that mutual funds and asset management companies (AMCs) are mandated to charge certain expenses, referred to as the total expense ratio (TER), for the management of a mutual fund scheme. 

The TER comprises various expenses, including management fees, administrative fees, distribution fees, auditing fees, legal fees, and other operating expenses. It aids an investor to understand the overall cost they are likely to bear when investing in a mutual fund.

Typically, the TER is calculated as a percentage of the mutual fund’s daily net assets and is expressed as an annualised figure. Considering the assets of open-ended funds change on a daily basis, the proportional TER is included in the scheme’s net asset value (NAV) at the time it is published on each business day.

TER thresholds

Currently, the TER in the country is fungible. This means that no specific limits are imposed on any particular type of expense as long as the overall expense ratio is within the prescribed limit.

TER calculation formula

  • Total Expense Ratio =  (Total expenses incurred/ Total fund assets ) x 100

The TER is calculated by dividing the total expenses by the total assets of a mutual fund. To calculate the TER, an investor is required to know the total expenses incurred by the mutual fund. These expenses include administrative costs, audit costs, transaction costs, legal and accountancy fees, sales and marketing expenses, besides other operational expenses. 

In addition, an investor is required to know the market value of all the stocks and bonds that the mutual fund is invested in on a specific date. This is stated to be the total fund assets. 

Asset management companies: Why do fund houses change the TER of mutual funds?

The asset management companies (AMCs) of fund houses are likely to change the TER of mutual funds periodically. Generally, this is on a monthly or quarterly basis. 

Primarily, this adjustment is driven by two factors: changes in the Assets Under Management (AUM) and the need to maintain competitiveness within the market.

As per the Association of Mutual Funds in India’s (AMFI’s) official website, TER directly affects the scheme’s NAV. In case the expense ratio is lower, the NAV tends to be higher. This is exactly the reason why TER is an important factor to consider when opting for a mutual fund scheme.

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