September 9, 2009
RE: SEC proposed rule, 206 (4)-5 that would ban any third party from marketing investment products to public entities.
As third party marketers/placement agents, we find this ban to be grossly unfair, unwarranted and misguided. We also believe the proposed ban to be inappropriate for several reasons:
It focuses on a class of industry participants rather than on the elimination of unacceptable behavior.
It seriously disadvantages investment advisers who need and want the advice and outreach that third party marketers can provide, e.g., small, emerging or non-US based investment advisers.
It will curtail the number and scope of investment opportunities that would be brought to public entities and their intermediaries as they seek to generate superior investment performance and cover their retirement liabilities.
And finally, the ban would in fact be counter-productive by removing regulatory oversight that currently is applicable to registered marketers and transfers the sales process to internal staff that may not be subject to this oversight.
We also believe that the proposed ban would have unintended consequences on groups other than third party marketers that the Commission has not considered. As a practical matter, we believe that the ban will have a direct and material negative effect on the overall investment adviser community but especially on small and emerging managers.
There would presumably also be a decrease in the number and quality of investment products available to institutional investors if managers such as yourselves could no longer use the services of a third party marketer. This would be the simple result of small managers not having the experience, relationships, resources or organizational wherewithal to market their investment products in an efficient and effective manner.
As Third Party Marketers, we are clearly in favor of correcting any pay-to-play abuses. We all suspect that at one point or another, we and our clients have been disadvantaged because of an uneven playing field. Rather than simply banning our participation, we are strongly advocating a broad policy of disclosure and transparency, as exemplified by several state proposals that are being considered.
Please do not pass this ruling. After you truly look at the facts and ramification of this ruling, I think there has to be a better way other than a blanket ban.