March 24, 2004
In general, the form is too complicated. If people would read the prospectus and annual statement and be provided with any research they ask for from the broker they would be able to make informed decisions. The problem is, they dont. For the most part the proposals only add to the layers of paperwork that an investor would have to plow through before making the investment decision. A positive suggestion would be to have in a standard table format an explanation of the various classes of funds: A, B, C, etc. Also in a similar table format should be the percentage return for various periods and the underlying comparative index. Usually this is buried in the narrative. For example, yesterday I received the annual report of the Lord Abbett Mid-Cap Value Fund. Imbedded in a paragraph was the fact that the fund returned 24.9 last year and the SP MidCap 400/BarraValue Index returned 40.2. A much clearer presentation would be a table format with 1, 3, 5, 10 year periods. I like the way the present graphs in the annual reports compare the returns of the fund and comparable index.