retirement-planning / general-investing

Understanding the fees you pay on your investments

17 October 2023

- Asavela Gwele

In support of 10X’s continuing mission to educate investors about fees, Asavela Gwele, Junior Investment Consultant at 10X Investments, outlines and unpacks some of the common types of fees that financial providers charge.

This list does not cover all fees that may be charged, but it is a good place to start when interrogating costs on investment policies and products.

Effective Annual Cost (EAC)

Before we get granular, allow us to introduce this three-letter acronym which pretty much sums up all of the annual fees an investor would pay into one line item. This tells you, in total, what your investment costs are. Usually, EAC is represented as a percentage of an investment.

“In at least one extreme case (I won’t name names) I’ve seen that this can go as high as 48.7%, which is very near half of the investment,” Asavela says, “Giving away half your investment capital, whether the market is doing well or not, is going to be very painful.”

Performance fee

These are exactly what they say they are. If a manager performs well or returns are positive compared to the chosen benchmark, a performance fee applies.

“At 10X, we believe that good performance should be rewarded but we don’t believe that reward should come at the expense of the investor, or when positive performance is minimal. 10X is all about performance without any of the fuss and we do not charge performance fees.”

Management fee

This is the basic fee managers charge to run their funds. While management fees are levied to keep the lights on, they can vary dramatically and high fees can mean investments perform badly even when the markets shoot the lights out.

“This one may be confused with the performance fees mentioned above, but it is levied irrespective of how the investment performed,” says Asavela.

Transaction costs

When a manager buys or sells assets fees will be incurred on the transactions, and these costs can be passed on to clients.

Asavela says: “With every transaction, the financial provider must pay different agents in the markets, from bank charges to clearing and settlement fees and brokerage fees. Even when these costs are paid by the fund rather than being passed on to the investor, they still lower total investment returns.”

Transfer fees

When an investor moves their portfolio to another financial provider or company, the outgoing company can sometimes levy a portfolio transfer fee.

“This might sound harmless enough, but it will feel like a punishment when you discover that you are being charged a penalty to move your investment to a different company,” Asavela says, adding, “At 10X we don't charge clients a transfer fee.”

Exit fee

The exit or withdrawal fee is levied on an investor cashing in their investment partially or entirely. This is another fee that can feel like extortion but, unfortunately, is common practice in the investment industry.

“Much like divorcing, splitting up, de-coupling or parting company, this fee may have different names but ultimately means the same thing,” Asavela says. “The common factor is that it comes at the end of a relationship [with a financial services provider].”

Paying low fees makes a big difference in a world where everything is becoming more expensive. Paying no fees makes all the difference in the world.

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10X Investments is an authorised Financial Services Provider (FSP number 28250). The content herein is provided as general information and is not intended as nor does it constitute tax, legal, investment, or financial advice as defined by the Financial Advisory and Intermediary Services Act, 2002.

The 10X Living Annuity is underwritten by Guardrisk Life Ltd.

10X Fund Managers (RF) (Pty) Ltd is an approved manager of collective investments schemes in securities in terms of Section 42 of the Collective Investments Schemes Control Act, 45 of 2002.

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