The difference between an index fund return and the index it represents. The typically lower rate of return from the fund results from transactions costs.
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The difference between the return on an index fund and the index it tracks. For example, if the return on the S&P 500 for a period of time is 5% and the return on an index fund tracking the S&P 500 is 3%, the frictional cost is 2%. The return on the index fund is nearly always lower than the return on the index itself because of fees, expenses, and other costs associated with managing the fund. A high frictional cost, however, may indicate that the investment company is either charging excessive fees or the fund does not track the index as closely as is claimed.
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