A newly popular mutual fund share class that charges an annual fee in place of front-end or back-end sales commissions seems to be catching on more quickly at brokerages and independent financial planning firms than at banks.

Sales of so-called level-load shares, for which investors typically pay 1% of assets a year as a fee to their brokers, have grown faster than sales of other share classes. But people in the industry say that the culture at bank brokerages has held down the growth of level-load shares, which are also commonly known as C shares.

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