Investing: ABCs of Fund Fees

Investors face an alphabet soup of shares. Here's how to sort them out

After years of creating new kinds of commissions for the brokers who sell them, some mutual funds now resemble a vat of alphabet soup cooked up by a character out of Dr. Seuss. There are A shares, B shares and C shares, not to mention D shares, I shares, Y shares and Z shares--all collecting different fees in different ways.

A few brokerages, lately including Prudential Securities, have been slapped by regulators for steering investors into funds that charge inappropriate fees (or "sales loads," in fundspeak). The National Association of Securities Dealers, which regulates such matters, recently reminded brokers of their...

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