June 9, 2004
As an industry professional, I am always seeking additional education and resources to provide my clients with the most appropriate investment vehicles for their financial situation. With this being said I support full disclosure of the expenses for the mutual fund companies. I believe a client has a right to know how much an investment is costing them.
I do have a concern regarding the disclosure of how much of those fees are then past to the broker/dealer and to the advisor. I believe as long as the client is informed regarding their total costs, it would be their decision as to whether they wish to spend that cost for that investment. Who makes what portion of that cost is irrelevant. For example, when I purchased my wifes engagement ring, I knew how much it was costing me and I felt comfortable about the purchase. I did not need to know how much the sales person, jeweler, wholesaler, manufacture and mining company made on this transaction. Each of these institutions made profit from my purchase, but how much each entity was receiving was irrelevant to me in my decision making process to purchase the ring.
Due to the vast amount of information a client is subject too when trying to learn and subsequently purchase an investment, they often become confused on what is important. What I believe is important is that their investments are designed for their risk tolerance, time horizons and goals. Also the client needs to be informed of the risks, diversification measurements, performance and costs of the investments. Lets not make the investment decision-making process harder for a client to understand and comprehend. The worse thing a client can do is to become overwhelmed and not make a decision. This does not help the client, advisor, broker/dealer, mutual fund company or industry.