March 20, 2004
I am a shareholder at a small law firm 18 lawyers whose retirement plan began offering self directed options through Merrill Lynch relatively recently. The self directed options are mutual funds offered by American Funds. Given the publicity over broker fees, I have been requesting for some time that Merrill Lynch disclose the amounts they are receiving for selling these mutual funds. My efforts to get Merrill Lynch to disclose this have been unsuccessful. As a retail investor, I believe the information I have requested is important for me to better understand the independence of the advice Merrill Lynch provides, and the extent to which I should expect personalized investment advice from the ML broker. Thus, I fully support the SECs efforts to require brokers to tell investors how much I must pay when I buy a particular fund, and how much the broker will receive for selling that fund.