As a licensed investment professional, I too, am concerned about the inappropriate activity within the mutual fund industry and the illegal actions taken by some therein. I commend the efforts being taken by both Congress and the SEC to curtail this activity and look forward to the healing of the industry's "black eye."
However, I am very concerned over the discussions regarding the the elimination of 12b-1 fees. These fees provide for the ongoing support and maintenance of investment accounts that might otherwise go unattended. The amount of service required on an ongoing-basis has grown dramatically over the last several years: providing clients with cost-basis information, evaluation of their current strategy and asset allocation, retitling accounts for estate planning purposes, gifting shares for charitable goals - the list goes on and on. We depend on the compensation derived from these 12b-1 fees to provide the attention that our clients deserve and expect. In fact, that compensation provides us the opportunity to concentrate on existing clients, rather than a shifted focus toward new clients needed to generate revenue.
The overwhelming majority of our clients have elected to invest with us because they need and want the ongoing support, advice and service that we as financial professionals provide. Each of our clients value the relationship that we have and fully expect that we will be compensated for the time we spend with them.
Elimination of the 12b-1 fees will have the opposite effect of what the proponents of that movement intend. Rather than helping the investor by saving the expense of ongoing service - a service that our clients value - this change will damage the investing public by creating a quandary for the investment professional within the relationship with his client, and move the attention from existing clients to new clients out of financial necessity.
I urge you to reject any proposal to eliminate or somehow limit the mutual fund industry's ability to provide ongoing compensation through 12b-1 fees, further limiting the ability for financial professionals to provide this ongoing service.
Thank you for your consideration and attention on this matter.
- Andrew Barnett
Andrew J. Barnett, CLU, ChFC President Estate Strategies Inc.
Financial and Estate Planning Solutions.
(T) 215.440.3630 (F) 215.440.3689 www.esiholmes.com