Over 700 finance terms, Shmooped to perfection.
A-shares are just the standard shares sold with commission by a mutual fund. Commission is paid up front and the maintenance fees are low - those are called 12-b1 fees. Over time, the marketing people inside of mutual funds came up with all kinds of crazy ways people could pay - as if that made a big difference to their eventual investment results... that is, you can pay when you redeem, along the way or get "no-load" funds where instead of paying 1% for the management fee, you pay 2% per year instead - but your initial commission is low. Woot?