From: Vivian Lewis
Mr. Drew M. Fetzner
CC: Ms. Nancy M. Morris
cc: readers of www.global-investing.com
Dear Mr. Fetzner, Thank you for sending me the SEC authoritization to the Depository Trust Company to charge pass-through fees on American Depositary Receipts which do not pay dividends. The fees are set at 3 percent of the ADR agent fee for shares which do not pay periodic dividends. The minimum fee is $50 and it is waived for charges below that sum. And the maximum is $4000.
Despite this, I was charged fees by Fidelity for shares which do pay a dividend, namely Orkla and Hongkong Electric (ORKLY-PK and HGKGY-PK). That shows how rules are often used to apply charges which are not authorized. Moreover, happily, the fees were well below $50 which shows that the minimum was not observed.
So my first complaint is that the SEC proposed fee was imposed under conditions which did not apply to the minimum. Moreover, since both stocks DO pay dividends, the DTC can benefit from the float by its practice of delaying payment, and use whatever exchange rate it likes to enhance its fees. So there is no need for an additional charge.
Finally, while the SEC has determined that there is no competition to the DTC in ADR issuance, in fact the collection fees are yet another impediment to the ADR market in competing against other bourses around the world for retail investors' business. This is an example of our regulators allowing fees which hurts the competitiveness of U.S. trading of foreign stocks.
I am sending a copy of my letter to the SEC to object to the fees and to my blog readership at www.global-investing.com to urge the paid subscribers from the U.S. to also write to object to these charges.