Price competition in the mutual fund industry
We find a puzzling fact about mutual fund industry that funds operating in more competitive segments charge higher fees. We argue that this surprising positive relation between competition and fund fees is consistent with strategic fee setting by funds. Fund performance is better and more persistent in less competitive segments, which attracts relatively more performance-sensitive investors. This leaves relatively less performance-sensitive investors in more competitive markets. Hence, funds operating in more competitive markets face a relatively inelastic demand curve and take advantage of it by increasing their fees (which reduces investors’ net returns). Our findings have important policy implications that market competition on its own may not be sufficient to decrease fund fees and regulatory interventions are required to increase investor awareness of mutual fund fees and their adverse impacts on net fund performance.
Parida, Sitikantha and Tang, Zhenyang, "Price competition in the mutual fund industry" (2018). School of Management. 159.