August 10, 2010
As a courtesy, we take on clients occasionally that have a lower than average net worth (who cannot qualify for a wrap fee or managed portfolio). We do not treat these clients any differently than our high net worth clients, except we usually use C shares.
Oftentimes these clients are not well versed in financial matters. I can tell you from the decades of experience the financial advisors in our office possess that there are clients out there who will not understand and appreciate the long term benefits of A shares no matter how well or thoroughly we explain the long term cost savings. Also, not all investors want to be theoretically married to a single fund company for the 3-8 years it takes to reach the break even point of cost savings between A versus C shares.
I have been told by countless experts to segment my book of business and disregard, sell, or hand off to a new agent the smaller investors and their corresponding accounts. In other words, I know it would be more profitable to not offer a high level of service to my smaller accounts.
I can tell you without a doubt that we will be much less likely to take on new low value accounts in the future if this rule is passed as is. It will also be more difficult to offer the high level of service that we offer when the proposed changes take effect.
We have ALWAYS done everything in our power to treat lower net worth individuals with the highest standards of customer service possible.
Please do not hurt low net worth investors by passing this rule as is.
If you were to simply recategorize these fees as commissions, or sales charges, that would be fine. We have no problem and have not had a problem in the past discussing our compensation with clients. But to limit it signficantly would only hurt smaller investors overall, in my opinion.