Mutual Fund Investing at Raymond James 

Introduction

Raymond James[1] offers clients a wide range of investment alternatives and services, including a variety of mutual funds. Deciding which mutual funds to invest in can be complex. It is important for you to evaluate how a particular mutual fund fits your individual needs and objectives. An important aspect of the mutual fund screening and selection process is to read the mutual fund’s prospectus carefully before investing. Each prospectus contains important information that will help you make an informed decision about an investment in a mutual fund. Raymond James financial advisors are able to provide you with a prospectus for the mutual fund(s) you may be evaluating. Raymond James financial advisors are also able to answer your questions regarding the pricing of the mutual fund’s shares and the compensation Raymond James (and your financial advisor) stands to receive in connection with the investment.

This educational disclosure document is divided into two parts and is designed to provide you with a general summary of factors you might consider when evaluating an investment in a mutual fund. Part I contains general information about investing in mutual funds, including information that is designed to help you understand the differences in share classes of mutual funds and how you may be able to reduce some of the transaction costs associated with investing in mutual funds. Part II contains general information about the compensation Raymond James (and your financial advisor) receives in connection with mutual fund transactions. Each of these parts is important to you as a potential investor in a mutual fund – the first part provides general information regarding the costs that you will incur in connection with an investment in a mutual fund, while the second part helps you to understand the compensation that Raymond James (and your financial advisor) receives in connection with mutual fund investments.

Part I: Mutual fund investing

The popularity of mutual funds results from features such as professional management, diversification, daily pricing and redemption, and ease of purchase, among other investor benefits. Because many mutual funds have minimum investments as low as $250, mutual funds have become the investment of choice for many investors.

One important factor that an investor may consider in evaluating a mutual fund is the fund’s investment manager, and the manager’s experience and qualifications, along with a the manager’s performance record. While past performance is not indicative of future results, a mutual fund’s long-term performance record and manager tenure may be an important factor in selecting a mutual fund as an investment option. Raymond James financial advisors are able to help you review potential mutual funds options in light of your investment objectives and risk tolerance.

As a client of Raymond James, you are able to invest in a wide range of investment products, including many different mutual funds that are sponsored or managed by companies that are unaffiliated with Raymond James, as well as, in some cases, mutual funds that are sponsored or managed by Raymond James affiliates. Raymond James makes available approximately 6,000 mutual funds from more than 300 mutual fund companies. In deciding which mutual fund is appropriate for you, you might consider several different factors, including a mutual fund’s investment objective, investment strategies and risks, the background of the investment advisor who is responsible for the management of the mutual fund’s assets, and the fees and expenses associated with an investment in a particular mutual fund. The remaining information in Part I of this educational disclosure document is intended to provide you with a general overview of the costs associated with an investment in a mutual fund.

Selecting a class of shares

The mutual fund industry has developed a multiple share class structure for mutual funds, which provides investors options for paying sales charges and service fees. Though there are several types of share classes, among the most common share classes available to retail investors are Class A, Class B, and Class C. While there are no standard, industrywide definitions of these classes (each mutual fund defines its share classes in its prospectus), some of the typical differences are discussed below. You should note that each class generally has different fees and expenses, and therefore performance results will differ when those fees and expenses are included in a performance presentation. You should also note that the length of time you expect to hold your investment in a mutual fund may play an important role in determining which share class is most appropriate for you, and you should discuss your expectations in this regard with your financial advisor.

  • Class A – This class usually carries a front-end sales charge. This means that a sales charge is deducted from your investment each time you purchase additional shares. Typically, Class A shares have a lower expense ratio (total annual fund operating expenses as a percentage of the mutual fund’s assets) compared to the other share classes of the same mutual fund offered to similar account types, which means that ongoing costs may be lower than the costs associated with other share classes of the same mutual fund. Many mutual funds offer “breakpoint” discounts for large investments. These breakpoints are described in the mutual fund’s prospectus.
  • Class B – Rather than imposing a sales charge at the time of initial investment as with Class A shares, Class B shares are characterized by a back-end or contingent deferred sales charges (also known as a “CDSC”), which means that you may pay a sales charge when you redeem (sell) mutual fund shares. The amount of the CDSC as a percentage of your investment normally declines over time and eventually is eliminated the longer you hold your shares (the period of decline may last anywhere from five to eight years depending on the particular mutual fund). Once the CDSC is eliminated, Class B shares usually convert to Class A shares. Until this conversion takes place, Class B shares will generally have higher 12b-1 fees than Class A shares and, as a result, the overall expense ratio for Class B shares will be generally higher than that of Class A shares.
  • Class C – Similar to Class B shares, Class C shares are generally characterized by a CDSC. However, unlike Class B shares, the possibility of incurring a CDSC if you sell your shares generally goes away after a short period of time (usually one year). Class C shares also generally have higher 12b-1 fees than Class A shares, but typically have the same or comparable 12b-1 fees as Class B shares. As a result, Class C shares will almost always have a higher total operating expense ratio than Class A shares, while Class C shares have total operating expense ratios that are generally comparable to Class B shares during the B share CDSC period. If held for an extended period of time (e.g., greater than 10 years), Class C shares may convert to Class A shares. Any potential conversions are described in the mutual fund’s prospectus.
  • Other share classes – Share classes meant for fee-based or advisory account types can take a number of forms, such as Institutional or P shares, and do not generally contain sales loads or 12b-1 fees. In addition, some shareholders may qualify to invest in share classes that are intended for specific types of investors, such as retirement plans, by prospectus.

Further explanation of mutual fund share classes and their related fees is available on the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s website at www.finra.org (click on the “Investors” tab).

Ongoing Costs. All mutual funds charge management and other ongoing operational fees. These ongoing fees are typically used to pay for the mutual fund’s continuing operations, which include, among other things, paying the mutual fund’s portfolio manager, accounting and auditing expenses, legal expenses, marketing and advertising, and recordkeeping costs. For information on the types of expenses that a particular mutual fund incurs on an ongoing basis, you should refer to the “Fee Table” in the prospectus of the particular mutual fund. Ongoing costs of a mutual fund may also include fees commonly referred to as “12b-1 fees” or “shareholder services fees.” These fees, which are also reflected in the Fee Table, are generally used to finance activities intended primarily to result in the sale of additional shares of the mutual fund or to provide continuing shareholder services to existing mutual fund shareholders.

Mutual funds also incur other ongoing costs that are not reflected in the Fee Table, but which you might also consider. For instance, a fund incurs costs associated with the mutual fund’s ongoing investment activities. The impact of these costs is complex because these costs are often difficult to quantify and can vary depending on the type of underlying investments in which a particular mutual fund may invest. To understand the impact of these costs on a particular mutual fund, you might consider such factors as the size of the mutual fund (in terms of assets under management), previous years’ portfolio turnover rates (a ratio that measures the extent to which a mutual fund’s manager buys and sells securities within a particular period of time), and the level of trading costs that a particular mutual fund has incurred historically. Much of this information can be found in the financial statements of a mutual fund, in the mutual fund’s prospectus, or in the Statement of Additional Information of the particular mutual fund (you may request a copy of a mutual fund’s Statement of Additional Information from your financial advisor or the mutual fund company directly).

Sales Charges (“Loads”) and Class Distinctions. Many mutual fund shares also contain sales charges, a portion of which is used to compensate broker/dealers and their financial advisors for providing financial advice and client service. An investor will incur any applicable sales charges, which are detailed in the prospectus, and may take one of the following forms: at the time an investor makes an investment (known as a “front-end sales charge”), when an investor redeems their investment (known as a “back-end sales charge”), or in the form of an ongoing charge that is assessed against assets (these ongoing charges are the 12b-1 fees described above).

Managing sales charges

While it may make sense to own mutual funds from different mutual fund companies, it may increase your total ownership costs. Fund companies often offer discounts on Class A share sales charges based on an investor’s total dollars invested with the mutual fund group/family. The investment levels necessary to receive these discounts are known as “breakpoints.” Often, mutual fund companies allow investors to combine their holdings with those of their immediate family members to reach these breakpoints. The prospectus of every mutual fund describes its breakpoint policies, including how investors can reach breakpoints, how the mutual fund group defines which family members qualify as “related,” and which mutual funds and account types qualify for breakpoints.

Breakpoint calculations are dependent on the information that you provide to your financial advisor. You should provide your financial advisor with information concerning your investments, particularly any mutual fund investments that you hold directly with a mutual fund company or with another broker/dealer other than Raymond James.

Although mutual fund breakpoint policies can differ, below are some common ways you can receive the benefits of breakpoints.

  • Rights of Accumulation: “Rights of accumulation” allow you to combine your mutual fund purchase with your existing investment in the mutual fund group/family to reach a breakpoint on new purchases. Rules for rights of accumulation and precise breakpoints vary among mutual fund groups/families. Consult the mutual fund prospectus and/or your financial advisor for information on whether and how rights of accumulation may be applied to specific investments.
  • Letter of Intent: Investors can take advantage of rights of accumulation from the time they purchase initial shares by agreeing to invest a certain dollar amount in a mutual fund or mutual fund family over a specified period of time. In most instances, this requires signing a Letter of Intent (LOI). In addition, many mutual fund companies also permit investors to include purchases completed before the letter of intent is signed, by instating a retroactive letter of intent. However, if the amount stated for investment in the letter of intent is not invested, the mutual fund can retroactively charge an investor the higher sales charge amount.
  • Net Asset Value (NAV) Transfers and Buybacks: After an investor redeems mutual fund shares, some mutual fund companies will allow investors to buy back into certain mutual funds within a certain time frame without incurring a Class A share sales charge. They may even allow investors to apply past redemptions of mutual funds from other mutual fund groups/families toward purchases into their mutual fund company without a sales charge.

Please see a mutual fund’s prospectus or the Statement of Additional Information (SAI) of the particular mutual fund for specific policies regarding Rights of Accumulation, Letter of Intent, NAV Transfers and Buybacks, and any other sales charge discounts or waivers.

It is important to note that while Class A share breakpoints can be beneficial, they are only one cost-based factor that an investor might consider with respect to mutual fund investments. As described above, it may be beneficial to select mutual funds issued by the same company if you choose to purchase Class A shares in a commission-based account. As your objectives change, you may be able to exchange among the mutual funds within the particular mutual fund group without incurring an additional sales charge.

Exchanges among mutual fund groups/families and changes in types of investments, in Raymond James commission-based accounts, are likely to incur sales charges on the new investment. In some instances, you may be required to execute additional forms. There may be tax consequences related to your sale, redemption, or exchange of mutual fund shares. If you have questions about the possible tax consequences of a sale, redemption, or exchange of your mutual fund shares, you should consult your tax advisor prior to making any such investment decision.

Part II: Raymond James’ and your financial advisor’s compensation

Part II of this educational disclosure document provides general information regarding the compensation that Raymond James and your financial advisor receive in connection with client investments in the mutual funds available through Raymond James. Depending on the type of account through which an investment is made (i.e., a brokerage account or an advisory account), mutual fund investments may be subject to different fees. Both Raymond James and your financial advisor generally share in brokerage commissions and asset-based advisory fees related to your account.

Your financial advisor

Commission Brokerage Accounts. Raymond James financial advisors will receive a commission or load in connection with purchases made in commission brokerage accounts. A description of commissions that are payable with respect to a particular mutual fund investment is disclosed in the prospectus of the mutual fund. Regardless of commissions charged by the various mutual funds available to you at Raymond James, the compensation formula used to determine the percentage of gross commission received by your Raymond James financial advisor is the same – this includes those mutual funds that are managed by affiliates of Raymond James. Different share classes of the same mutual fund will generally have different associated ongoing expenses (as described above), and your financial advisor could receive more or less compensation depending on the mutual fund share class you purchase. For example, over time your financial advisor is likely to receive more compensation if you invest in Class C shares of a mutual fund than if you were to invest in Class A shares of the same mutual fund, as a result of Class C shares generally having higher 12b-1 fees than Class A shares.

Fee-Based Accounts. In a fee-based account, investors are assessed an annual fee as a percentage of the assets in the account (“asset-based fees”). This fee is typically assessed quarterly. Your financial advisor receives a portion of this fee. These asset-based fees are generally separate and distinct from the expenses Raymond James charges you as a result of the transactions that occur in your account. Asset-based fees are also separate and distinct from the fees charged by the mutual funds that you may hold in your account – although the front-end and back-end sales charges of mutual funds are often waived for accounts with asset-based fees. If a mutual fund is held in an advisory account, the value of that mutual fund position is generally included for purposes of calculating the asset-based fee applicable to the advisory account. More information on Raymond James fee-based accounts can be found here.

When considering what type of account is right for you, you should carefully think about the projected expenses of the particular type of account given your financial situation and preferred relationship with your financial advisor. Specifically, you should consider and discuss with your financial advisor such factors as the amount of assets you intend to have in the account, the extent to which you want to exercise control over the account, and the number of transactions you anticipate during a period of time.

Raymond James does not provide cash or non-cash compensation incentives to financial advisors for selling certain mutual funds or share classes.

Raymond James

Raymond James receives compensation from a variety of sources and for a variety of services. Some forms of compensation are directly associated with (i) the particular type of account that you maintain with Raymond James or (ii) the particular investments. Other forms of compensation that Raymond James receives do not directly affect the amount that you pay or that you are charged. These other forms of compensation include payments from the companies that sponsor, manage, and/or promote the sale of certain mutual funds available to you through Raymond James. The payments from these mutual fund companies to Raymond James are intended to cover a variety of expenses, including expenses associated with marketing mutual funds to new investors, educating Raymond James financial advisors, and expenses associated with servicing existing client accounts. The payments are subject to modification, termination, or suspension by the payer.

Clients should be aware that only those mutual fund companies with which Raymond James has a selling agreement will be available for purchase from Raymond James, and are generally limited to those fund companies that provide Raymond James with compensation, including but not limited to education and marketing support, networking, and/or omnibus fees (see further description below). As a result, not all mutual funds available to the investing public will be available for investment at Raymond James, and clients should not assume that share classes with the lowest available expense ratio are available through the firm. When determining the reasonability of the firm’s compensation, clients should factor in both explicit fees and indirect or implicit compensation received by the firm on mutual fund share classes in which the client invests. This section of this disclosure document is intended to provide an overview of the types of compensation that Raymond James receives in connection with mutual fund investments.

Processing & Handling Fee for Mutual Fund Trades. In addition to any commissions on mutual fund trades, a $5.95 processing & handling fee is charged on all commissionable brokerage accounts. This fee is charged directly to investors on both purchases and liquidations but is not charged in connection with periodic investment plans, systematic withdrawal plans, or exchanges within the same mutual fund family. This fee does not apply with respect to ERISA plan assets.

Mutual Fund Transaction Fee in Commission Brokerage Accounts. Transactions with respect to mutual funds of those mutual fund families that do not pay Raymond James networking and service fees have a transaction fee charged directly to investors, separate from, and in addition to, any commission and processing & handling fees. For funds in this group that are not subject to a mutual fund sales charge (“no-load”), this fee is $40, and for funds in this group that are subject to a mutual fund sales charge (“load”), this fee is $15. This fee is charged directly to investors on both purchases and liquidations but is not charged in connection with periodic investment plans, systematic withdrawal plans, or exchanges within the same mutual fund family. To see which fund families are subject to this fee, please visit Non-Networking and Service Partners. This fee does not apply to ERISA plan assets.

Education & Marketing Support Fees. Raymond James provides a variety of marketing and other sales support services to mutual fund companies related to their mutual funds. The services that Raymond James provides depend on the level of the mutual fund company’s participation in the Education & Marketing Support Program (“E&M Program”). The E&M Program has three tiers – Premier, Preferred, or Partner – which correspond to different levels of compensation that the mutual fund company provides to Raymond James. The services provided to companies participating in the E&M Program include, but are not limited to, providing detailed mutual fund information to financial advisors, assisting mutual fund companies with strategic planning support, inclusion in the No Transaction Fee (“NTF”) Program, and providing opportunities for assisting with professional development workshops, study groups, and other educational events and conferences. The level of support and types of services provided by Raymond James are commensurate with the tier level and increase at the higher tiers. That is, Premier mutual fund companies receive the greatest quantity of services, followed by Preferred and Partner, respectively. Raymond James also provides distribution support for prospectuses and promotional materials relating to mutual funds that participate in the E&M Program. The marketing service and support fees that Raymond James receives take a variety of forms, including payments that are sometimes referred to as “revenue sharing” fees and 12b-1 fees. This compensation is generally not disclosed in detail in a particular mutual fund’s prospectus or Statement of Additional Information. The structure of these payments generally varies among mutual fund companies – a percentage of assets under management, a flat dollar fee, or some combination thereof – but the potential level of marketing support or revenue sharing fees that Raymond James receives from a particular mutual fund group/family will not exceed 0.30% (30 basis points) per year on mutual fund assets.

Certain fund families are subject to a minimum annual fee up to $75,000 to participate in the E&M Program.

In certain circumstances, Raymond James will choose to make share classes that pay 12b-1 fees or trails available in investment advisory programs even if a less costly share class is available, due to the ability for Raymond James to earn E&M Program payments from the fund advisor or its affiliates. These marketing and education support payments benefit Raymond James but do not increase costs to the client. 


The actual amounts that Raymond James receives will vary from one mutual fund company to another, and investments in certain asset classes, share classes, mutual fund types, and/or account types may be excluded from the above formulas. This fee is not applicable with respect to ERISA plan assets and certain fee-based retirement accounts.

NTF Program. Raymond James maintains a No Transaction Fee (“NTF”) feature for certain mutual fund purchases in some Raymond James programs, including Passport and IMPAC accounts. Certain mutual fund families have agreed to participate in the NTF Program, meaning that purchase transactions of open-end mutual funds from these companies will not incur the $15 charge to the investor normally charged by Raymond James because the mutual fund family has agreed to reimburse Raymond James directly for this $15 transaction fee. Purchases of mutual funds of those mutual fund companies that do not participate in the NTF Program will continue to be available and incur a $15 transaction fee charged directly to the investor. This fee does not apply to ERISA plan assets.

Mutual fund families that do not pay Raymond James networking and service fees will have an additional transaction fee charged, separate and in addition to the current transaction fee, for taxable Passport and IMPAC accounts only. This additional transaction fee will be $25 for purchases, separate and in addition to the current non-NTF fund transaction fee of $15, for a total fee of $40 in taxable accounts. To see which fund families are subject to this fee, please visit Non-Networking and Service Partners. This fee does not apply to ERISA plan assets.

A list of mutual fund affiliate companies that have agreed to pay Raymond James to participate in the NTF Program may be accessed here.

For a list of mutual fund companies that have agreed to participate in Raymond James’ 2018 Education & Marketing Support Program, click here. Mutual fund companies that are indicated with an asterisk symbol (*) have also agreed to participate in the No Transaction Fee (NTF) Program.

Networking and Omnibus Fees (Sub-Accounting, Sub-Transfer Agency, and Administrative Fees). Mutual fund companies with mutual funds electronically linked or “networked” with a broker/dealer’s account system or with mutual funds available through a broker/dealer’s account programs often reimburse broker/dealers for a portion of their account servicing and administrative costs, which may include accounting, statement preparation and mailing, tax reporting, and other shareholder services. Mutual fund companies may also pay Raymond James for maintaining an omnibus account on behalf of a particular mutual fund company, and that mutual fund company will pay Raymond James to provide various services related to investor accounts, including, but not limited to, processing dividend payments and distributions, recordkeeping, and processing purchase and redemption orders.

Networking and omnibus accounting are services that enable data sharing between Raymond James and mutual fund providers and/or their transfer agents. Raymond James currently receives payments from mutual fund companies for networking and omnibus services that generally take the form of per account charges, a percentage of assets under management, or flat dollar payments that may be up to 0.20% on total assets under management. These fees are not applicable with respect to ERISA plan assets and certain fee-based retirement accounts.

Fee-Based Accounts. Eligibility for various share classes offered by mutual funds to be used as part of Raymond James’ advisory programs is determined by the mutual fund and disclosed in the fund’s prospectus. Raymond James, per the fund’s prospectus, evaluates the share classes for which the relevant advisory program is eligible and will select the lowest cost share class that includes a sub-transfer agency fee, which compensates Raymond James for sub-accounting, sub-transfer agency and related services at the individual account level. This means that Raymond James may not select the lowest cost share class for which the program is eligible. Use of a more costly share class will reduce the performance of a client’s account. Note that advisors do not have an incentive to recommend or select share classes that have higher expense ratios, because their compensation is not affected by the share class selected.

For a list of companies that have agreed to pay Raymond James networking or omnibus servicing fees, click here.

Shareholder Servicing Fees. Certain mutual fund companies also pay Raymond James fees to provide shareholder liaison services to investors. These fees are classified as shareholding servicing fees and generally include responding to investor inquiries and providing information on mutual fund investments. Raymond James receives these shareholder services fees from certain mutual funds in amounts not to exceed 0.25% annually of the assets invested in a particular mutual fund.

Education Fees – Retirement Program. Raymond James also receives annual fees of up to $25,000 from mutual fund companies for providing education, marketing, and sales support services for certain corporate retirement plans.

Affiliated Funds. Raymond James makes available to its clients a variety of mutual funds advised by Carillon Tower Advisers (“CTA”), a subsidiary of Raymond James Financial, Inc. Raymond James generally receives additional revenue in connection with the sale of CTA mutual funds because it receives compensation for providing these affiliated mutual funds with investment advisory, administrative, transfer agency, distribution, and/or other services that Raymond James may not provide to unaffiliated mutual funds. However, as noted above, Raymond James financial advisors and branch managers do not receive additional compensation or other cash or non-cash incentives for recommending mutual funds (or any particular class thereof) advised by CTA.

General Promotional Activities. Marketing representatives of mutual fund companies, often referred to as “wholesalers,” work with Raymond James financial advisors and their branch office managers to promote their mutual funds. Consistent with applicable laws and regulations, these mutual fund companies may pay for or provide training and education programs for Raymond James financial advisors and their existing and prospective clients. Mutual fund companies may also pay Raymond James, directly or indirectly, to offset expenses incurred for due diligence meetings, conferences, client relationship building events, occasional recreational activities, and other events or activities that are intended to result in the promotion of their mutual funds.

Other Services. The subsidiary companies of Raymond James Financial, Inc. provide a wide variety of financial services to individuals, corporations, and municipalities. For these services, Raymond James receives compensation. As a result, Raymond James can be expected to pursue additional business opportunities with companies whose mutual funds Raymond James makes available to its financial advisors and their clients. Consistent with industry regulations, these services could include (but are not limited to) banking and lending services, sponsorship of deferred compensation and retirement plans, investment banking, securities research, institutional trading services, investment advisory services, and effecting portfolio securities transactions. Raymond James professionals who offer mutual funds to the individual investor clients of Raymond James may introduce mutual fund company officials to other services that Raymond James provides.

Investors should carefully consider the investment objectives, risks, charges, and expenses of any investment company before investing. Each mutual fund prospectus contains this and other information about an investment company. Mutual fund prospectuses are available from the mutual fund company and from your financial advisor and should be read carefully before investing.

[1] Raymond James Financial, Inc. (NYSE: RJF) is a leading diversified financial services company providing private client group, capital markets, asset management, banking and other services to individuals, corporations and municipalities. The company has approximately 7,600 financial advisors serving in excess of 3 million client accounts in more than 3,000 locations throughout the United States, Canada and overseas. Total client assets are approximately $750 billion as of June 30, 2018. Public since 1983, the firm has been listed on the New York Stock Exchange since 1986 under the symbol RJF.