Based on the fact that S&P 500 mutual funds track the same index, it could be assumed that any one of the 65 funds is as good as the other, but a recent study by the Investment Company Institute suggests otherwise.

According to the Washington-based trade group, S&P mutual funds are far from one-size-fits-all. Sure, the funds' underlying holdings are practically identical, but creative variations in asset levels, account size, minimum investment requirements and fees differentiate the funds and can have a significant impact on an investor's total return.

And while it's also true that since S&P funds spend next to nothing on research because they track an index, another cost disparity exists due to the fact that some funds charge 12b-1 fees and others don't. And since index fund buyers tend to be bargain shoppers, the S&P 500's product line, which hold a combined $255 billion in assets, are very popular among the budget conscious. Those with expense ratios of 0.40% are garnering more than 90% of the flows, said Sean Collins, chief economist at the ICI, in a report from the Associated Press.

The staff of Money Management Executive ("MME") has prepared these capsule summaries based on reports published by the news sources to which they are attributed. Those news sources are not associated with MME, and have not prepared, sponsored, endorsed, or approved these summaries

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