July 10, 2007
Dear Ms. Morris: I am a CFP, CLU, ChFC designated financial planner and have been working with clients for 26 years. I am writing to comment on your/SEC concerns on the merits of Rule 12b-1 fees.
I would encourage you to not eliminate or change the current 12b-1 trailing compensation received from mutual funds. My biggest concern for many years, as I watch planners and brokers increase the minimums required to work with them, is who is going to take care of the little guy, and who is going to inform the next generations to come on how and why to invest long term for retirement, college, rainy days, etc. These 12b-1 fees are a small token to provide some compensation to service these smaller investors. I started my practice in 1981 by calling on graduating engineers and many are still clients today. It is that 12b-1 fee that allowed me to continue to work with them over the years as their net worth grew. As you know, information is free and bountiful, but many investors are looking for someone to show them how to apply that information. An accumulation of 12b-1 service fees gives me the ability to spend time with people wanting to learn or just starting out, and I feel I can give them some pretty good advice versus other avenues they may be forced to use. And when you think about the 12b-1 fee of .25% as being $25 on $10,000; or even $125 on $50,000 that is pretty inexpensive service.
If disclosure is the issue, then I am all for it. Clients should know what it costs to buy a mutual fund and what the ongoing costs are from the 12b-1 and other fund expenses. Not everyone has the time or desire to do this on their own, but everyone knows they need to do something to save for the future. Therefore, I ask that you and the SEC not eliminate the 12b-1 trailing compensation paid by some mutual funds, as this could do considerable harm to investors.
Thank you for your time and consideration.