From: R. Scott Bradley
Jonathan G. Katz, Secretary
What is the benefit to consumers of a new rule that requires disclosures of fees and expenses that are currently outlined in a prospectus?
If the SEC already reviews variable annuity and mutual fund prospectuses and the prospectuses already disclose fees and expenses, then where is there additional protection to the consumer?
Prospectuses have been simplified as recently as 2002. If the consumer would spend the time to read and understand what is currently available they could make informed decisions about the purchase of these products.
What is the real issue here? I believe it should be to motivate the consumer to read what they already receive. An alternative would be further revision of the prospectus rules.
I am a licensed insurance professional and have sold variable products. I am writing to you because the new disclosure requirements proposed are unnecessary, provide no meaningful protection, and does not motivate consumers to do what I've suggested.
Here's a story that may further explain my perspective. A man calls a contractor because the floors in his house are creaking. Upon arriving at the residence he assesses the situation, pulls out his hammer and a nail, drives the nail into the floor and corrects the problem. He hands the consumer his invoice of $46. The consumer complains, $46 for 2 minutes of work? (Even though his problem is solved.) The contractor line items his fees and expenses:
It takes time, effort, study, and expense to learn where to drive the nail. It is the contractor that has taken the time to learn where to drive the nail. If the consumer would take time to read, study, and learn where to drive the nail he could do it himself. Or maybe do it more cost effectively. It's his choice and new rules will not change this fact.
These new proposed rules will make consumers focus on an investments fees and expenses rather than the overall returns.
I urge the NASD to withdraw the proposed rule.
Thank you for your consideration.
R Scott Bradley