April 1, 2004
I am a CFA who has practiced professionally in the investment industry for 25 years. I think your proposed forms are excellent, and will be very helpful for investors to understand exactly what theyre paying for their investments, and to let them know that their brokers make different amounts of commissions depending on what they sell. For investors, there will be less of a mystery surrounding what their broker does. Their broker will not be able to make them feel that theyre too dumb to understand all these numbers. This will clear away some of the smoke and mirrors that investors must deal with when they make investments. These forms will help build some trust among investors and potential investors.
Even if a customer receives the information contained in the new forms in the prospectus, these proposed forms should also be provided to the investor at the time of the transaction, if not before. The prospectus is only understandable to financially savvy investors. Most investors are not that savvy. And the elderly frequently dont have the attention span to read and understand a prospectus. I believe that Closed End Company transactions should also be covered. They have unusual fees, and Ive never met an individual investor who understood that there were any fees or restrictions. Brokers do a terrible job or no job at all in explaining closed end companies to their clients. The same goes for annuities. I hope that annuities will be included in your forms. The elderly are often solicited to buy annuities, and the downside or fees charged are very rarely explained.