AN investor needs to consider several factors before committing money into a fund. It always pays to shop around. Business Post checked out investment opportunities at some of the prominent fund management houses. What the advertisements will not tell you is that you can avoid part or much of the front-end fee by going through a broker. The price you pay for your mutual fund will differ depending on which dealer you buy it from. Our first stop was Jardine Fleming mutual fund showroom in Jardine House. JF had just reduced the initial minimum investment from US$10,000 to $2,000, making it worth checking out. Like most fund management companies, JF charges an up-front fee. In this case it was five per cent up front, with a 0.25 per cent back-end fee when you close the fund. The sales girl said there was no room for negotiation on the up-front fee unless we had more than $100,000 to invest. We decided to check out other options. Our next stop was American fund managers' Fidelity Investment. Its front-end fee was a high 5.25 per cent, but then again there was no back-end or leaving fee. We then visited Concord Capital Management in Central. Senior consultant Ricky Keung assured us we are not the only mutual fund investor put off by the high front-end fees. His company specialised in selling discount mutual funds, with rebates as much as three per cent of the five per cent charged by the fund manager. We picked a mutual fund and got a discount, saving about $600.