Share Classes and Sales Charge FAQ
Learn about the different share classes offered by American Funds and sales charges that may apply.
1. How do American Funds share classes differ?
Our share classes mainly differ based on how you pay for the advice of your financial professional. Because different payment structures suit different investment needs, we offer several convenient pricing options for our mutual fund accounts as well as our CollegeAmerica® 529 savings plan.
Class F-1, F-2, F-3 and 529-F-1 shares
- Class F-1 shares are primarily available through certain financial services platforms that support self-directed investors.
- Class F-2, F-3 and 529-F-1 shares are available only through participating financial professionals.
- Class F-2, F-3 and 529-F-1 share purchasers pay an annual asset-based fee charged by their financial professional.
- Class F-2 shares do not carry a 12b-1 fee.
- Class F-3 shares do not carry 12b-1 or sub-transfer agency fees.
See the prospectus for details.
Class A, 529-A and ABLE-A shares
- You pay the sales charge at the time of purchase.
- You will pay lower annual expenses.
Class C and 529-C shares
- If you sell your shares within 12 months, you will pay a sales charge.
- You will pay higher annual expenses than with Class A and 529-A shares.
Effective June 30, 2020:
- Class C shares convert to Class A shares in the month of the 8-year anniversary.
- 529-C shares convert to 529-A share in the month of the 5-year anniversary. This change ultimately benefits 529-C shareholders as they will incur lower 12b-1 expenses after conversion.
Go to Share Class Pricing Details for additional information.
2. Which share class is best for me?
This depends on a number of factors, including the amount you have to invest and how long you expect to own your fund shares, among other things. We strongly encourage you to consult a financial professional for specific investment recommendations. Your financial professional can evaluate your needs to match your short- and long-term goals.
3. Which share class is the least expensive to own?
It depends on how you prefer to pay, how much you invest and how long you expect to own the shares.
Over shorter time frames, C and 529-C shares may cost slightly less than A and 529-A shares, as long as you don’t sell shares that incur a contingent deferred sales charge.
With larger investments, Class A and 529-A shares work to your advantage, since up–front sales charges decline the more you invest.
4. What is contingent deferred sales charge (CDSC)?
The CDSC is assessed on shares sold within a specified period. It is also known as a back–end load.
- The CDSC on American Funds Class C and Class 529-C shares is 1%, and is assessed on certain redemptions made within the first year of purchase.
- The CDSC on Class A, 529-A and ABLE-A shares purchased without a sales charge due to total assets of $1 million ($500,000 or more for certain funds), is up to 1% on certain redemptions if the redemption occurs within 18 months of purchase.
- The CDSC is based on the original purchase amount or the current market value of the shares being sold, whichever is less. Shares that are not subject to any CDSC will be sold first, followed by shares that have been owned the longest.
Some exceptions may apply. Refer to Selling Shares to learn more or speak to your financial advisor.
5. How can I reduce my Class A, 529-A and ABLE-A sales charge?
There are a number of ways to reduce your sales charges on Class A, 529-A and ABLE-A share purchases, including:
- Aggregating eligible accounts
- Making concurrent purchases
- Adding the value of American Funds shares you already own (right of accumulation)
- Establishing a statement of intention
- Purchasing a gift of shares
Go to Reducing Your Class A, 529-A and ABLE-A Sales Charges to learn more.
6. What is a breakpoint?
A breakpoint is the total value that your American Funds account must have to qualify for a lower sales charge on Class A, Class 529-A and ABLE-A shares. The amount of your current investment is taken into account when determining the breakpoint at which the investment will be priced. As long as the value of all of your accounts with the American Funds (excluding direct purchases to money market funds) exceeds a particular breakpoint, all subsequent investments will receive the reduced sales charge. See Share Class Pricing Details for additional breakpoint information.
Note: To receive a Class A, 529-A and ABLE-A sales charge reduction, you must tell your financial professional or American Funds at the time you purchase shares that you qualify for such a reduction. If you fail to do so, you might not receive a sales charge reduction.
7. Can I link different share classes for rights of accumulation?
Yes. You may take into account the current value of all existing Class F-1, F-2, F-3, A and C share and Class 529-F-1, -A and -C share holdings in American Funds, as well as American Legacy® accounts established on or before March 31, 2007, to determine your Class A, Class 529-A and ABLE-A sales charge. Direct purchases of the money market fund are excluded.
8. What is “right of reinvestment” or “reinstatement”?
If you notify American Funds, you may reinvest money from a sale, dividend payment or capital gain distribution back into the same account from which the money came without a sales charge, provided the reinvestment occurs within 90 days after the date of the transaction.
Additionally, if the account from which the money came has been closed you may reinvest the money into another account without a sales charge, provided:
- The reinvestment occurs within 90 days after the date of the sale.
- The money is reinvested in an account with the same registration.
If you are reinvesting money which represented a direct investment to a money market fund, into any of our other funds, a sales charge will apply.
See your financial professional or your fund’s prospectus for details.
9. How do Class C and 529-C shares conversions work?
Effective June 30, 2020:
- Class C shares automatically convert to Class A shares in the month of the 8-year anniversary of the purchase. This is a nontaxable event that reduces the annual expenses you pay going forward. The new Class A share account will have the same registration as the C share account. A proportionate amount of dividends will be exchanged into the Class A share account.
- Eligible Class 529-C shares will automatically convert to 529-A shares in the month of their 5-year anniversary. This change ultimately benefits 529-C shareholders as they will incur lower 12b-1 expenses after conversion.
10. What are the investment limits for Class C and 529-C shares?
To help ensure you are able to take advantage of Class A share sales charge discounts to reduce the cost of owning fund shares, American Funds does not allow purchases of Class C shares when Class A shares might be a more cost–effective option. Class C share investors will benefit from reduced sales charges available on Class A shares for investments of $500,000 or more, potentially making Class A shares a more cost–effective alternative for them.
Investors in Class 529-C shares may invest into their CollegeAmerica account until the balance (including any earnings) reach $500,000.
Investors with aggregated American Funds accounts of $1 million or more, however, can purchase Class A and 529-A shares at net asset value and are ineligible for Class C and 529-C purchases. For funds available at net asset value based on aggregated assets of $500,000 or more, investors should purchase Class A or 529-A shares. Since the sales charge for Class A/529-A declines as investment purchases and/or account value increases, Class A/529-A shares become the better option for larger investments held over a longer period.
11. Can I exchange shares across share classes?
Exchanges are generally only allowed within the same share class. However, you can exchange Class A shares in American Funds U.S. Government Money Market Fund℠ to Class C shares of most other funds. You should also keep in mind that a sales charge may be applied if you are exchanging from Class A shares in American Funds U.S. Government Money Market Fund to another fund if those shares were not already subject to a sales charge.
For purposes of computing the CDSC, the length of time shares are owned will be measured from the date of the original purchase, and will not be affected by any exchanges.
12. What do “with sales charge,” “CDSC” and “NAV” mean?
“With sales charge” refers to the up-front sales charge applied to investments in Class A, 529-A and ABLE-A shares when purchased. The average annual total return “with sales charge” is the gain or loss made on an investment if you paid the maximum 5.75% up–front sales charge.
CDSC, or “contingent deferred sales charge” is a declining back–end sales charge applied to shares sold within a specified period. The average annual compound return “with CDSC” is the gain or loss made on an investment if you paid the maximum back–end sales charge (1% for Class C and 529-C shares).
NAV, or “net asset value,” is the value of a fund share. This is the price you would receive for each share sold. NAV is calculated daily.
The average annual total return at NAV is the gain or loss made on an investment if you did not pay an up–front sales charge or a contingent deferred sales charge (CDSC) on the investment.