Carving out a piece of Europe's retail third-party fund business can be an expensive undertaking, as companies that rely on distributors to sell their funds pay an average of four times more for sales and marketing than the rest of the asset management industry.

According to a recent study published by Financial Research Corp. of Boston, new entrants into the European marketplace pay a handsome price to banks and other fund distributors - roughly 16 basis points of their assets - to get their products out to the masses. That amounts to more than $1 billion spread across the third-party fund marketplace, which represents 21% of the overall fund industry in Europe.

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