Last year's boom in stocks, combined with investors' growing awareness of the fees they pay, resulted in declines in the expense ratios of mutual funds – and, as a result, more money for retirement savers.

Bull markets benefit mutual fund investors for all of the obvious reasons. But rallies like last year's are even more profitable, thanks to "breakpoints" in fund management fees, which are triggered after a fund's assets grow beyond a set amount. Once thresholds are surpassed, as was the case in equity funds last year, managers charge less of a percentage on each dollar returned.

Fund tracker Morningstar reports that the average investor paid .71 percent in expenses on open-end mutual funds in 2013. That's down from .72 percent in 2012, .78 percent in 2010, and from .95 percent in 2000.

Complete your profile to continue reading and get FREE access to BenefitsPRO, part of your ALM digital membership.

  • Critical BenefitsPRO information including cutting edge post-reform success strategies, access to educational webcasts and videos, resources from industry leaders, and informative Newsletters.
  • Exclusive discounts on ALM, BenefitsPRO magazine and events
  • Access to other award-winning ALM websites including and

© 2024 ALM Global, LLC, All Rights Reserved. Request academic re-use from All other uses, submit a request to [email protected]. For more information visit Asset & Logo Licensing.