Mutual funds can offer more than one type, or class, of shares. The different share classes are typically distinguished by varying expense ratios that reflect the differing costs of providing services to the holders of each share class. While shareholders in different share classes incur different costs, the fund's objective, management, and underlying investments are identical in each class. This multiclass structure allows shareholders to enjoy economies of scale.
Vanguard offers four fund share classes:
Investor Shares. Traditional shares for individual investors. Investor Shares typically feature low minimum initial investments.
Admiral™ Shares. A separate class of lower-expense shares available to Vanguard investors whose accounts meet minimum-balance requirements. Vanguard created Admiral Shares to recognize and encourage the cost savings stemming from large investment accounts and to pass these savings on to the shareholders who generate them.
To qualify for Admiral Shares, you must meet a minimum investment of:
ETF Shares. A share class of certain Vanguard index mutual funds that trades on an exchange. ETF Shares combine the benefits of indexing, such as low costs and broad market diversification, with the trading and pricing flexibility of individual stocks.
Institutional Shares. Shares for companies and organizations with account balances of $5 million or more. Vanguard may charge additional recordkeeping fees for institutional clients whose account records are kept by Vanguard.
You must buy and sell Vanguard ETF Shares through a broker, which may incur commissions. Vanguard ETF Shares are not redeemable directly with the issuing Fund other than in Creation Unit aggregations. Like stocks, ETFs are subject to market volatility. When buying or selling an ETF, you will pay or receive the current market price, which may be more or less than net asset value.
All investing is subject to risk, including possible loss of principal.