(1) Part 15 of the Instrument sets out the method to be used by an investment fund to calculate its management expense ratio (MER). The requirements apply in all circumstances in which an investment fund circulates and discloses an MER. This includes disclosure in a sales communication, a prospectus, a fund facts document, an ETF facts document, an annual information form, financial statements, a management report of fund performance or a report to securityholders.
(2) Paragraph 15.1(1)(a) requires the investment fund to use its “total expenses” (other than distributions if these are an expense for the investment fund) before income taxes for the relevant period as the basis for the calculation of MER. Total expenses, before income taxes, include interest charges and taxes, including sales taxes, GST and capital taxes payable by the investment fund. Withholding taxes need not be included in the MER calculation.
The CSA is of the view that if an investment fund issues debt-like securities or securities that otherwise provide leverage to the fund, payments to holders of these securities should be treated as financing costs from the perspective of the investment fund’s other classes of securities (the classes that benefit from the financing or leverage). These costs should not be excluded from total expenses when calculating the MER of the investment fund’s other classes of securities. Securities that provide leverage generally include preferred shares.Non-optional fees paid directly by investors in connection with the holding of an investment fund’s securities do not have to be included in the MER calculation.
(3) The CSA recognize that an investment fund may incur fees and charges that are not included in total expenses, but that reduce the net asset value and the amount of investable assets of the investment fund. Sales commissions paid by an investment fund in connection with the sale of the investment fund’s securities are an example of such fees and charges. We believe that these fees and charges should be reflected in the MER of the investment fund.
(4) While brokerage commissions and other portfolio transaction costs are expenses of an investment fund for accounting purposes, they are not included in the MER. These costs are reflected in the trading expense ratio.
(5) In its management report of fund performance, an investment fund must disclose historical MERs for five years calculated in accordance with Part 15. If the investment fund has not calculated the historical MERs in the manner required by the Instrument, we are of the view that the change in the method of calculating the MER should be treated in a manner similar to a change in accounting policy underInternational Accounting Standard 8 Accounting Policies, Changes in Accounting Estimates and Errors. Under Canadian GAAP, a change in accounting policy requires a retrospective application of the change for all periods shown. However, the Handbook acknowledges that there may be circumstances where the data needed to restate the financial information is not reasonably determinable.
If an investment fund restates its MER for any of the five years it is required to show, the investment fund should describe this restatement in the first document released and in the first management report of fund performance in which the restated MERs are reported.
If an investment fund does not restate its MER for prior periods because, based on specific facts and circumstances, the information required to do so is not reasonably determinable, the MER for all financial periods ending after the effective date of the Instrument must be calculated in accordance with Part 15. In this case, the investment fund must also disclose
(i) that the method of calculating MER has changed, specifying for which periods the MER has been calculated in accordance with the change;
(ii) that the investment fund has not restated the MER for specified prior periods;
(iii) the impact that the change would have had if the investment fund had restated the MER for the specified prior periods (for example, would theMER have increased or decreased and an estimate of the increase or decrease); and
(iv) a description of the main differences between an MER calculated in accordance with the Instrument and the previous calculations.The disclosure outlined above should be provided for all periods presented until such time as all MERs presented are calculated in accordance with the Instrument.