Personal financial columns are beginning to warn investors that fund fees could rise in 2009, as mutual fund companies try to grapple with fewer assets under management.

“It’s easy these days to forget about fees when your fund might have lost 40% or more in the past year,” writes the Baltimore Sun. “But fees matter over the long run, and you can end up with a lot less money, even if you’re paying what seems to be only slightly more for a fund.”

Thus, columnists are urging investors to be more careful in the coming year to ensure they are getting just due breakpoints, just as the reverse is true for fund companies; most will be all too happy to charge higher fees on accounts where breakpoints no longer apply.

Lipper Senior Analyst Jeff Tjornehojpredicts fund fees could rise 10% next year. Added to that, he warned, service providers are likely to increase their fees, and fund companies, in turn, will simply pass those along to shareholders. Added to that, international funds are in a disadvantageous position, since the dollar has been so strong.

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