From: Lynn C. Appelman
Jonathan G. Katz, Secretary SEC
Dear Mr. Katz,
I am writing to respond to the possibility that the SEC will revoke or change the current 12B-1 fee structure. I have been in the investment business for over 20 years. I remember when almost all mutual funds sold through brokers carried an 8 1/2% sales charge. Over the years this has changed in a number of ways including using 12B-1 fees to compensate brokers. The investing public would be most happy if no fees were taken out of their investments. They would also be happy if their government employees worked for free and their plumber and car mechanic worked for free. The reality is that if advisors are not paid a service fee for their work, then they will not continue to service their clients. If a person wants to invest on their own, they can already hunt around for a low cost fund. Vanguard advertises on their web page and tries to tell investors that because Vanguards fees are lower, an investor's return will be higher. They even have a calculator to figure it out. This is not a historical illustration, it is just comparing the fee costs. This is blatant misrepresentation in the other extreme. The difference in most mutual fund performance returns is more than 25 basis points. While some people think that all income for an advisor should be fee based, it is not practical to bill someone for their $5,000.00 mutual fund account. All fees should be disclosed in the prospectus. Let the buyer decide for himself or herself what is best for them. Regulation should be directed at disclosure and not revocation. The stack of paperwork that I am required to fill out to open up a mutual fund account already has me wondering why I even talk to the small investor. I do it because I believe they need my help too. One more step in this direction may make it impossible for me to do that. Please consider carefully your decision in this matter.
Lynn C. Appelman CFP, ChFC, CFS