Breakpoint Disclosure Statement
Before investing in mutual funds, it is important that you understand the sales charges, expenses, and management fees that you will be charged, as well as the breakpoint discounts to which you may be entitled. Understanding these charges and breakpoint discounts will assist you in identifying the best investment for your particular needs and may help you reduce the cost of your investment. This disclosure document will give you general background information about these charges and discounts. However, sales charges, expenses, management fees, and breakpoint discounts vary from mutual fund to mutual fund. Therefore, you should discuss these issues with your financial advisor and review each mutual fund's prospectus and statement of additional information, which are available from your financial advisor, to get the specific information regarding the charges and breakpoint discounts associated with a particular mutual fund.
Investors that purchase mutual funds must make certain choices, including which funds to purchase and which class share is most advantageous. Each mutual fund has a specified investment strategy. You need to consider whether the mutual fund's investment strategy is compatible with your investment objectives. Additionally, most mutual funds offer different share classes. Although each share class represents a similar interest in the mutual fund's portfolio, the mutual fund will charge you different fees and expenses depending upon your choice of share class. As a general rule, Class A shares carry a "front-end" sales charge or "load" that is deducted from your investment at the time you buy fund shares. This sales charge is a percentage of your total purchase. As explained below, many mutual funds offer volume discounts to the front-end sales charge assessed on Class A shares at certain pre-determined levels of investment, which are called "breakpoint discounts." In contrast, Class B and C shares usually do not carry any front-end sales charges. Instead, investors that purchase Class B or C shares pay asset-based sales charges, which may be higher than the charges associated with Class A shares. Investors that purchase Class B and C shares may also be required to pay a sales charge known as a contingent deferred sales charge when they sell their shares, depending upon the rules of the particular mutual fund.
Most mutual funds offer investors a variety of ways to qualify for breakpoint discounts on the sales charge associated with the purchase of Class A shares. In general, most mutual funds provide breakpoint discounts to investors who make large purchases at one time. The extent of the discount depends upon the size of the purchase. Generally, as the amount of the purchase increases, the percentage used to determine the sales load decreases. In fact, the entire sales charge may be waived for investors that make very large purchases of Class A shares. Mutual fund prospectuses contain tables that illustrate the available breakpoint discounts and the investment levels at which breakpoint discounts apply. Additionally, most mutual funds allow investors to qualify for breakpoint discounts based upon current holdings from prior purchases through "Rights of Accumulation," and future purchases, based upon "Letters of Intent." This document provides general information regarding Rights of Accumulation and Letters of Intent. However, mutual funds have different rules regarding the availability of Rights of Accumulation and Letters of Intent. Therefore, you should discuss these issues with your financial advisor and review the mutual fund prospectus to determine the specific terms upon which a mutual fund offers Rights of Accumulation or Letters of Intent.
As you can see, understanding the availability of breakpoint discounts is important because it may allow you to purchase Class A shares at a lower price. The availability of breakpoint discounts may save you money and may also affect your decision regarding the appropriate share class in which to invest. Therefore, you should discuss the availability of breakpoint discounts with your financial advisor and carefully review the mutual fund prospectus and its statement of additional information, which you can get from your financial advisor, when choosing among the share classes offered by a mutual fund. If you wish to learn more about mutual fund share classes or mutual fund breakpoints, you may wish to review the investor alerts available on the NASD Web site. See Understanding Mutual Fund Classes, and Mutual Fund Breakpoints: A Break Worth Taking or visit the many mutual fund Web sites available to the public.