March 5, 2004
The rule regarding a mandatory redemption seems unnecessary. If all trades are placed prior to the close of business for fund trades and the investor recieved the subsequent closing price, it seems that all investors are being treated fairly. This delay is especially necessary regarding international funds, if I understand the issues.
If a fund company wants to restrict trading because it makes the portfolio management more difficult, then it should be up to them.
Please address some of the real issues such as:
1. Require complete fee disclosure as a percent of assets for all expenses related to operating the fund. The managment fee should include trading expenses, 12b-1 fees, audit fees, everything. This would be simpler for the investor. Funds should be required to provide the information quarterly for the prior rolling 12 months.
2. Require independant boards for mutual funds. I do not beleive the mutual funds are being run for the shareholders, rather, it appears they are being run for the mutual fund companies and their shareholders. People affiliated clearly have a conflict of interest. Expenses should go down as assets grow all other factors being equal and this is seldom the case. I believe the SEC should begin putting pressure on boards by initiating litigation for fund companies that are charging above average fees for average performance. This would wake some people up.
3. Put pressure on boards to be independant and objective for all matters, not just mutual funds. The salaries top executives are making are ludicras. No shareholder in their right mind would authorize multi-million dollar salaries for the privledge of having people manage their company. Unfortunately executives beleive it is their company and run it as such as bilk corporations of millions of dollars, which they should only have the priviledge of doing in a privately held company that they have invested their own capital and blood, sweat and tears in building. I am confidant there a quaility people who will do the jobs for less, however, these executives have been masterful at putting their peers on the boards and insisting that the outragous salaries are necessary to keep top personell. Baloony. They are just working the independant directors and shareholders to make a big payday for themselves. They are cashing in their chips, so to speak. This is especially apparent in looking at comparable salaries of foreign controlled companies.
Please identify and work on the real issues, not the easy ones that can generate good headlines. Go after the root of the cause in the breach of fiduciary responsibility the executives in accepting these outragous salaries, not distributing captial to shareholders and failing to be diligent and thorough.
In addition, no one should be allowed to serve on more then one board of directors. I cant believe it is possible to give the time and effort that is truely necessary to be a valuable member by doing otherwise.
Gregory P. Fasig, CFA,CFP