Over 700 finance terms, Shmooped to perfection.
See B-Shares. A-, B- and C-share mutual funds have some kind of sales "load," or charge, tacked on to the NAV price. A-shares have a front-end load; you pay around 8% on top of the purchase price which goes to the selling broker. Aggravating, but it's over and done. B-shares, on the other hand, were marketed with the lure that there's potentially no load - but there's a catch (yes, campers, there's always a catch): You have to hold those shares for a minimum period. If you sell early, then the sales charge applies on the back end. That's the contingent deferred sales charge. It's computed on a sliding scale, so you pay more the earlier you are into the period, such as 7% in the first year, 6% in the second year, and so on. The SEC has really clamped down on these in recent years because most mutual fund investors hold shares for a period less than the CDSC period and the regulators thought that to be unfair and abusive. After the CDSC period has passed, B-shares just convert to being A-Shares - "no load", but there's no further sales charge.