Financial advisers are telling investors that it is high time they shop around for low-cost funds, particularly given the dismal state of the markets in 2008.

As Christine Benz, director of personal finance for Morningstar, told the Associated Press, “When you come off a frustrating year like last year, investors are looking around for answers. One of the most obvious things you can do is focus on what you can control, and I put fund fees squarely in the column of something you can control.”

The easiest fee to find, of course, is the expense ratio, which covers administrative and operational costs. Separate from that, investors must hunt through a prospectus to find 12b-1 fees and fund trading costs, typically in the statement of additional information.

Then, in addition to that, under a section titled Shareholder Fees, investors can find yet other fees for sales, purchases, redemptions, exchanges and annual accounts.

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