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Simple But Not Easy: An Autobiographical and Biased Book About Investing by Richard Oldfield

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Chapter 4 – Fees

Oh how dull. Fees. This is really the cart before the horse, isn’t it? Who cares about fees? All that investors should care about is the net return – the return they get after all fees and costs.

This is an understandable but naïve view. It is quite true that all that matters in the end is the net return, but the net return is, after all, the gross return less fees. Fees make a difference.

When in 1992 a colleague and I sat in a Melbourne meeting room staring out of the window while we waited for a client, my companion passed the time, as he later told me, by thinking about how much his share options in the firm for which we worked were now worth. The shares of our firm had gone up a great deal because the economics of ...

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