Shares in publicly traded mutual fund management companies have soared 54% this year, compared to approximately 5% for the Standard & Poor's 500 index, but that growth may be about to slow down as fund companies catch up on paying expenses they have been putting off, USA TODAY reports.
Fund companies have expenses to pay regardless of whether markets rise or fall, but because investors hate to pay fees when they're losing money, many fund companies made big cuts or delayed certain projects to keep these expenses as low as possible.
When markets began to rise again, stock prices rise, assets rise, fees rise and profits rise. The typical expense ratio for stock funds is about 1.2%, according to Lipper, and last year, the five largest stock mutual funds charged approximately $2.2 billion in expense fees.
Matt Snowling, an analyst for FBR Capital Markets, said fund companies that slashed their expenses during the bear market could begin to spend more as stocks rise, and he suggested the rally in fund company stocks may already be over, noting that T. Rowe Price has already doubled since March 9.
"The rally here in these names is overdone," he said, but if the bull market continues, fund companies could remain a good bet.