October 27, 2010
SEC Comment Board,
I would like to comment on the proposed changes to 12b1 rules. As a registered representative I have found it difficult to provide the level of service I would like too to clients with a 12b1 charge of 25 basis points. My understanding is the SEC wants to foster competition by encouraging retail price competition and I strongly object to the SEC permitting mutual funds to issue a new class of shares at net asset value that would allow broker-dealers to set their own sales charge and commission amount. This would literally drive out of business a large number of professional investment rep's. Competition based on price and cost sounds good will come at the expense of needed advice and service for middle market investors. As broker-dealers lower their sales charges and fees in an effort to gain market share, it will no longer be financially feasible for registered representatives to continue to provide the level of individualized advice and ongoing service that we currently provide to our middle and lower market clients. Investors with smaller fund account balances will be forced to self-direct their accounts if they wish to continue to own mutual funds because their advisors will no longer be able to afford to spend the time to guide and advise them, leaving discount brokerage fund platforms as the only affordable option for middle and lower market investors.
If you all would get down here in the trenches and have to work with the small to middle market segment these people need the help of professional advisor, especially during turbulent markets. Long term average returns by investors is significantly less than what is shown by performance statistics of mutual funds due to the in and out of the market investors often fall prey to due to emotional distress. Representatives work with these investors , hold their hands when needed, to help them through the tough times. May of these smaller investors don't have the time, desire or intelligence (not a negative) to select and monitor their investments effectively.
Honestly, for the work we do 25 basis points is not enough and between health insurance reform and proposed SEC changes I am feeling that the term "financial professional" will become a thing of the past. Please do not hurt the consumer with not well thought out actions to try to protect middle and lower market investors. They are already being protected by their financial professionals.