Management Fee

Updated on March 14, 2024
Article byRutan Bhattacharyya
Edited byAshish Kumar Srivastav
Reviewed byDheeraj Vaidya, CFA, FRM

What Is A Management Fee?

A management fee is a fee imposed by investment managers on investors for their expertise in choosing financial instruments that make up a particular investment fund. It covers various costs, such as the expenses related to advisory services and portfolio management.

Management Fee

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The management fee structure varies from one investment fund to another. However, this fee is usually a percentage of the investment fund’s assets under management or AUM. Therefore, to choose the best option, individuals must consider comparing this fee, past performance, and other crucial aspects of different investment funds. Typically, this fee is 0.2%-2% of the AUM.

Key Takeaways

  • Management fee refers to the fees paid periodically to investment professionals responsible for managing an investment portfolio on their client’s behalf. It is a part of the management expense ratio and covers costs associated with fund management.
  • The management fee structure varies from fund to fund. Usually, it is a percentage of the assets under management. This percentage ranges from 0.2% to 2%.
  • Actively managed funds charge a higher management fee than passively managed funds.
  •  Individuals who want to avoid paying this fee can opt for self-directed investing.

Management Fee Explained

Management fee refers to a periodic payment that an investor pays an investment fund to compensate the asset managers for their skills, ability, and time required for managing the portfolio. This fee may include the cost of investor communications and asset administration.

Investment funds usually levy this fee on investors as a percentage of the overall assets under management. Alternatively, a fund may impose this fee as a percentage of the revenue, subject to a particular minimum value. That said, one can also find fee other structures.

In exchange for paying this fee, investors get access to the resources and expertise of investment professionals. The experts offer personalized investment-related advice, allocate risk, and rebalance portfolios to help investors achieve their financial goals. The fee levied by an investment fund usually varies on several factors, including the investment size and style. For example, investment funds following a passive investment strategy charge lower fees than actively managed funds. Additionally, high-net-worth individuals and institutional investors may have to pay a lower fee depending on the AUM.

Individuals not willing to pay this fee can engage in self-directed investing. By doing so, investors can control their investments, thus eliminating the requirement for investment professionals. It may involve building a personalized portfolio or trading individual financial instruments. Although self-directed investing doesn’t involve management fees, it can be risky for inexperienced investors.

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Individuals can utilize the following formula for management fee calculation.

Management fee = Management fee percentage x Assets under management

Calculation Example

Let us look at this example to understand the concept better.

Suppose John, an investor, has $50,000 to invest, and XYZ investment firm levies a management fee of 0.5% per year. He can use the above formula to compute the fee he has to pay to compensate the investment firm for its fund management expertise.

Therefore, this fee will be (0.5% x 50,000), i.e., $250 per year.

Ideally, John’s annual return must exceed this fee. It ensures he earns enough to cover the investment-related expenses and still realize a profit.


Investors must note that the fees paid to hold, sell, or purchase any financial asset are not subject to an income tax deduction. Moreover, fees paid by individuals to collect dividend or interest is not eligible for tax benefits. Such fees may include transaction or brokerage fees, management and custodian fees, advisor fees, etc.

Before the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, one could itemize and deduct any investment fee necessary to collect taxable income if the deductions were over 2% of adjusted gross earnings. That said, such deductions are suspended through at least 2025. If investors itemize deductions, they might be able to deduct the interest investment expenses, which refer to any interest paid on the money they borrowed to purchase taxable investments.

Management Fee vs Management Expense Ratio

Allocating funds to investment firms or mutual funds can be prudent for individuals aiming to build wealth. That said, individuals new to the investment world often confuse management expense ratio (MER) and management fees. Therefore, before investing, they must understand how these two charges differ. Hence, the following table highlights the distinct characteristics of the two fees.

Management FeeManagement Expense Ratio
Investment firms levy this fee as compensation for offering their expertise and time to manage an investment portfolio.This is the total cost of investing in a mutual fund. Mutual funds levy this fee to cover a fund’s operating cost.
This is a part of the management expense ratio.A fund’s MER includes various fees, including the management fee.
In most cases, this fee is lower than MER.Typically, MER is higher than the management fee.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Is management fee an operating expense?

This fee is the most significant component of a fund’s operating expenses. It is an ongoing charge paid by an investor to an investment advisor who manages a portfolio by taking all buy-and-sell decisions.

2. What are property management fees?

This is a fee levied by property managers every month to manage a property. It is a percentage of the rental income paid every month. Alternatively, it can be a flat fee. The percentage usually ranges from 4% to 7%. That said, property managers charge 10% or more for smaller properties.

3. What is a good management fee?

A fee under .2% is low and considered very good. On the other hand, a fee of more than 1% is high; it can eat into an investor’s long-term profits. Therefore, if an investor spots a fee of more than 1.5%, and certainly over 2%, they might want to look at other investment funds. Of course, this is not the only aspect one should consider while allocating funds to investment funds. They should look at other factors, like investment strategy, past performance, etc.

4. Do REITs have management fees?

Yes, REITs levy this fee on investors.

This article has been a guide to Management Fee & its meaning. We explain its formula, example, & taxation & compare it with the management expense ratio. You may also find some useful articles here –

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