Foreign Stocks Carry Highest Expense Ratios

There is a significant variance in the expense ratios by investment option category. The average expense on an international small-cap fund, for instance, is 122 basis points (see Exhibit 5.10). For fixed-income investments, however, money markets carry an average expense ratio of 42 basis points, stable value 37 basis points, and domestic bonds either 62 basis points (for active funds) or 34 basis points (for passive funds).

Domestic equity investments also carry varying average fees, with small-cap the highest at 103 basis points and large-cap the lowest at 78 basis points. U.S. equity index funds have an average expense ratio of just 31 basis points, according to the survey.

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