June 25, 2011
As you make this rule change please keep what is best for individual investors in mind and make helping them your top priority.
Raising the requirements too quickly will result in less investors having the choice to invest in hedge funds and will give them less access to top money managers not more. If you raise the limit too quickly it would favor the traditional big banks as this reduces competition for them and gives more individual investors less choice. Less competition and less choice is bad for individual investors not good. So please don't make any change too quickly.
I think the intent of the Dodd-Frank act was to be neutral on the amount of investors that would be allowed to invest in hedge funds. The Dodd-Frank act intended to slowly raise the limit over time as the net-worth of U.S. citizens rose and thus on a percentage basis no more or no less investors would qualify to invest in hedge funds over time.
Hence in response to the things the committee ask for response on, here is my feedback:
First please do not start excluding the value of an individual primary residence. This is not required by the Dodd-Frank act. This has the unintended consequence of shrinking the pool of investors allowed to invest in hedge funds too quickly all at one time. This is not what the Dodd-Frank act intended. It also is not fair to those who own homes instead of rent. The U.S. government and the SEC should not be imposing rules that discourage home ownership. Please do not do this as it is not required by the Dodd-Frank act.
Second, please do grandfather in existing investors who already have an agreement with an advisor. Please let the individual and the advisor keep their existing agreements in place. Kicking individual invesstors out of the hedge fund at this arbitrary time would be unatural for the individual investment plans and deterimental to the advisor. Hence, please don't make them change retroactively agreements. This would have a high cost and hurt both the individual investors and the hedge fund advisors.
Third, please scale this change in very slowly over time as to not shrink or grow the pool of investors who are allowed invest in hedge funds. I think the intent of the Dodd-Frank act was to keep the size of the pool neutral over time. So please only increase the current $1.5M limit by 2% or 3% a year or at the same rate the median net worth of U.S. households increase over time. Please do not make such a big jump all at one time. Shrinking the pool quickly all at one time is only beneficial to the big banks, as now more individual will be forced to invest with big banks instead of going with an alternative investment like a small hedge fund. Please help small businesses and investors instead of helping the big banks. The majority of U.S. citizens clearly want the big banks to have less power not more. So try and give as many investors as possible the option to invest in hedge funds by not raising the current $1.5M limit too quickly.
Finally, please do allow ample transition time for advisors and investors to become compliant. This could be a significant change. You don't want to put small hedge funds businesses out of business by making them transition to quickly. You don't want to hurt individual investors by making the change to quickly and instead allow them to complete any plans they had in flight with an advisor to complete before the change comes. Please allow at least one year or longer for a transition time to begin enforcing any rule change you end up making.