Definition of 12b-1 fee:
Back in the early days of the mutual fund business, the 12b-1 fee was thought to help investors. It was believed that by marketing a mutual fund, its assets would increase and management could lower expenses because of economies of scale. This has yet to be proven. With mutual fund assets passing the $10 trillion mark and growing steadily, critics of this fee are seriously questioning the justification for using it. Today, the 12b-1 fee is mainly used to reward intermediaries for selling a fund's shares. As a commission paid to salespersons, it is currently believed to do nothing to enhance the performance of a fund.
A 12b-1 fee is an annual marketing or distribution fee on a mutual fund. The 12b-1 fee is considered to be an operational expense and, as such, is included in a fund's expense ratio. It is generally between 0.25% and 0.75% (the maximum allowed) of a fund's net assets. The fee gets its name from a section of the Investment Company Act of 1940.
An ongoing marketing and distribution fee charged by certain mutual funds.
Meaning of 12b-1 fee & 12b-1 fee Definition