What is a 'Load'
A load is a sales charge or commission charged to an investor when buying or redeeming shares in a mutual fund. The fee may be a one-time charge at the time the investor buys into the mutual fund (front-end load), when the investor redeems the mutual fund shares (back-end load), or on an annual basis as a 12b-1 fee.
BREAKING DOWN 'Load'
A large number of mutual funds carry sales charges. These are paid directly by the investor in the case of the front-end and back-end variety, and indirectly through a deduction to the net assets of the investor's fund if of the 12b-1, or level-load, variety.
Oftentimes, these sales charges will be waived if a load mutual fund is included as an investment option in an employer-sponsored retirement plan.
Unlike 12b-1 fees, front-end and back-end loads are not included in the calculation of a fund's operating expenses.