I thought your story on B shares and allegations made in the Morgan Stanley suit (Mutual Fund Market News, March 10) provided a worthwhile overview of the situation.

Having a variety of pricing choices to select from is a plus for investors just as it is for car buyers who can elect to pay cash up front, finance the care or lease it, all of which involve differing costs. The fees for A, B and C shares are spelled out in detail in each fund's prospectus.

But trying to define which is the "best" class for each investor can involve a calculus that defies easy analysis. Each instance is dependent on many factors that are not always finite, e.g. how long will the investor hold the shares, what is his or her attitude towards paying a lump sum commission vs. a series of smaller periodic payments?

Hindsight makes it easy to determine which would have been the "best" class to buy, but hindsight also would have picked the absolutely best performing fund among the thousands available!

On the whole, classes of shares are a valuable option for informed investors.

Copyright 2003 Thomson Media Inc. All Rights Reserved.

(http://www.mfmarketnews.com

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