2. A fee one must pay to a mutual fund for selling one's shares within a certain period of time. For example, one may be required to pay a surrender charge if one sells shares in the first year or two of ownership. The surrender charge exists to encourage stability in ownership of the mutual fund; that is, it discourages traders from speculating on the fund.
3. A penalty charge one owes if one makes a premature withdrawal from an annuity, insurance contract, or some other investment vehicles.
A surrender fee is the penalty you owe if you withdraw money from an annuity or mutual fund within a certain time period after purchase. The period is set by the seller.
In the case of a mutual fund, it's designed to prevent in-and-out trading in a fund, which might require the fund manager to liquidate holdings in order to redeem your shares.
In the case of an annuities contract, there's the additional motive of covering the sales charge paid to the investment professional who sold you the product.