For load mutual funds, the dollar amount for the purchase of the fund's shares that qualifies the investor for a reduced sales charge (load). The purchase may either be made in a lump sum or by staggering payments within a prescribed period of time. The latter form of investment purchase in a fund must be documented by a letter of intent.

For example, suppose that an investor plans to invest $95,000 in a front-end load mutual fund and faces a sales charge of 6.25%, or $6,125. If a breakpoint of $100,000 exists with a lower sales charge of 5.5%, the investor should be advised to invest an additional $5,000. If the investor can add another $5,000 to the investment, he or she would benefit from a lower breakpoint sales charge of $5,500, or a savings of $625 on this transaction.

Mutual funds are required to give a description of these breakpoints and the eligibility requirements in the fund prospectus. By reaching or surpassing a breakpoint, an investor will face a lower sales charge and save money. Any investor purchase of fund shares that occurs just below a breakpoint is considered unethical and in violation of NASD rules.

Investment dictionary. . 2012.

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