October 27, 2010
Regarding 12b-1 fees, I can support your proposal to change them to 12b-2 fees and continue them under "marketing and service fees" and/or "ongoing sales charges". As a registered rep, I thoroughly disclose fees to my clients and make it clear that they can find no-load funds which would be "cheaper" to buy. Over 95% of the time, my clients choose to use loaded funds as disclosed in order to purchase my services.
My concern with allowing broker/dealers to set their own charges is that while in theory this sounds great for the consumer, in the end it will hurt the middle-class consumer you are trying to protect. My experience is that as a rule, they will not do their own research or follow a plan adequately to provide for their own retirement. Registered reps provide a great service to them in helping them prepare for retirement. Allowing BDs to set their own costs will likely prompt a race to the lowest fees. However, as a registered rep, I will no longer be able to earn a living advising people who choose such low cost funds. You get what you pay for, and if they are not paying for my service, they will not get it. This will leave the middle-class investor in a worse position than today as only the wealthy will be able to pay for investment help. Please do not adopt this portion of your proposed changes. Thank you for your time.
Samuel T. Winward
Financial Services Professional
Agent, New York Life Insurance Company
Registered Representative offering securities through NYLIFE Securities LLC (member FINRA/SIPC), a Licensed Insurance Agency.