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For mutual funds, the point at which the amount invested reduces the sales charge is called the "breakpoint." Each mutual fund may have several breakpoints; the larger the investment, the greater the discount. Note that the actual reduction in the sales charge is known as the "breakpoint discount". Also, the term "breakpointing" is sometimes used to refer to the offering of breakpoint discounts. The practice of soliciting mutual fund purchases just below the breakpoint (to earn more commissions) is considered unethical and in violation of NASD rules. See: right of accumulation.


In loaded mutual funds, a dollar amount an investor must buy into the fund in order to be eligible for a reduced load or sales fee. For example, if the breakpoint for a certain mutual fund is $50,000, and investments beyond that amount will halve the load, it becomes advantageous for an investor to invest $50,000 instead of, say, $45,000, because this will entitle him/her to half the load for the entire investment, and not just for the amount invested past $50,000. Mutual funds that allow investors to buy at just below the breakpoint may run afoul of Financial Industry Regulatory Authority regulations. An investment need not come all at once to pass the breakpoint; an investor putting two tranches of $25,000 into the above mutual fund will usually find his excess load refunded. See also: Right of accumulation.


The cumulative level of purchases of shares in a mutual fund that is required before an individual purchaser can qualify for a reduced sales commission. Compare letter of intent. See also right of accumulation.


A breakpoint is the level at which your account balance in a mutual fund company or the size of a new investment in the company's funds qualifies you to pay a reduced sales charge.

Fund companies that charge a percentage of the amount you invest as a front-end load, or sales charge, may offer this cost saving. They are not required to do so, but if they do use breakpoints, they must ensure that all clients who qualify get the discount.

In most cases, the first breakpoint is $25,000, with further reductions for each additional $25,000 or $50,000 purchase. For example, if the standard load were 5.5%, it might drop to 5.25% at $25,000, to 5% at $50,000, and perhaps to as low as 2.5% with an investment of $250,000.

In calculating breakpoints, some fund companies will combine the value of all of your investments in the mutual funds they offer. Other companies count the investments of all the members of your household or give you credit for purchases you intend to make in the future.

References in periodicals archive ?
The Investor Alert, "Mutual Fund Breakpoints: A Break Worth Taking," explains how breakpoints work and how investors can make sure that they are charged the lowest possible front-end load on load mutual funds they buy.
WASHINGTON -- WASHINGTON, March 11 /PRNewswire/ -- Securities regulators issued a report today showing that nearly one in three transactions in front-end load mutual funds that appeared eligible for a breakpoint discount did not receive one, based on the results of a three-month examination sweep of selected broker- dealers.
WASHINGTON, July 22 /PRNewswire/ -- NASD today issued a Task Force report on mutual fund "breakpoint" discounts, which recommends a number of operational enhancements, disclosure requirements and regulatory changes in response to problems in delivering breakpoint discounts to investors purchasing mutual fund shares with front-end loads.
DST Vision(TM) announces it is developing a one-stop online resource center for accessing breakpoint information.
1, 1999, that they may be due refunds as a result of the firms' failure to provide breakpoint discounts.
Enhancements to these DTCC systems will allow for the more accurate tracking and application of breakpoints.
Compliance Data Digest centralizes in a consistent and easily accessible format the information, including rights of accumulation, that advisors need to determine if their clients are entitled to a breakpoint discount on a fund's "load" (sales charge).
Having that information readily available and up-to-date will give broker/dealers and other fund distributors immediate access to the rules governing a fund and also help them with compliance issues - applying proper breakpoints to a customer's account, for example," Bergin explained.
The other will allow investors and brokers to identify available breakpoint discounts for substantial investments in Class A mutual fund shares.
NASD's new Mutual Fund Breakpoint Search Tool offers users a groundbreaking way to research eligibility for breakpoint discounts.