Lower Fees, Higher Returns

Increase your portfolio performance by choosing among these top-performing funds with the lowest expense ratios

and they don’t charge a redemption fee after the first year. However, C shares charge an even higher annual fee than B shares, which you have to pay until you no longer invest in the fund.

Which share class should you choose? For many investors, A shares usually make the most sense. “A shares generally are easy to understand,” says Brian Portnoy, a senior analyst at Morningstar Inc. in Chicago. “B shares might lead you to believe there is no sales charge, but you may pay on the back end depending on how long you hold onto a fund. C shares are inappropriate for everyone because the sales charges just go on, year after year.”

Some fund loads can be deceptive, according to LeCount Davis, CFP, RIA in Bethesda, Maryland. “There’s no
load up front, but you have to pay a redemption fee if you sell that fund within a certain number of years,” he says. “In practice, most investors want to get out before the back-end load disappears so they wind up paying it.” Davis also says he never recommends C shares (level-load funds) because the ongoing expenses remain high.

Some funds have various other share classes, too. You can buy funds with D, Y, N, F, R, X, M, T, or Z shares. No matter what the label, you should know all the terms and conditions of a share class before choosing it. Your advisor should be able to explain them to you. After all, you’re paying those fees in order to receive sound advice. Be confident you’re getting what you pay for.

B.E.’s Top Mutual Fund Performers
So that you can identify vehicles that will give maximum returns over the long haul, we have identified 80 top-performing, low-cost funds by their three-year average annualized return. The ranking of each no-loader was also based on having the lowest expense ratios for its category.

Avg. Annualized
Total Return*

Fund Name

Symbol

3-Year

5-Year

Expense
Ratio

Minimum
Initial
Investment

Phone

LARGE GROWTH
Atalanta/Sosnoff Value ASVFX 2.64 N/A 1.50 $5,000 877-767-6633
Jensen JENSX 0.90 7.15 1.00 2,500 800-992-4144
Strong Large Company Growth SLGIX -5.58 7.44 1.30 2,500 800-368-1683
Papp Focus N/A -5.90 1.74 1.25 5,000 800-421-4004
Fidelity Capital Appreciation FDCAX -6.45 3.10 1.03 2,500 800-544-8888
Meridian Growth MERDX 8.32 11.94 1.06 1,000 800-446-6662
MID-CAP GROWTH
RBC Mid Cap Equity A CMEAX 0.84 7.80 1.37 1,000 800-442-3688
Papp Small & Mid-Cap Growth PAPPX 0.33 N/A 1.25 5,000 800-421-4004
T. Rowe Price Mid-Cap Growth RPMGX -0.48 6.81 0.88 2,500 800-638-5660
Wright Selected Blue Chip Equities WSBEX -3.54 0.12 1.25 1,000 800-555-0644
SMALL GROWTH
Buffalo Small Cap BUFSX 12.47 20.44 1.02 2,500 800-492-8332
William Blair Small Cap Growth N WBSNX 7.21 N/A 1.62 5,000 800-742-7272
1st Source Monogram Special Equity FMSPX 6.18 10.19 1.24 1,000 800-766-8938
Baron Growth BGRFX 5.97 11.84 1.35 2,000 800-992-2766
Dreyfus Premier Future

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