June 8, 2018
OVERALL INVESTOR EXPERIENCE
1. How do you pick funds? What information do you want to know when you make an investment in a fund? What publications or websites do you review? What tools, online or otherwise, do you use? Do you look at the SECs website?
I pick funds based on research provided by Fidelity. Various analysts are reviewed depending on what my objectives are for the specific account IRA vs brokerage).
I have looked at the SEC website, primarily to review filings.
2. Do you read current fund disclosure documents? Do you understand them? Is there information you do not receive from the fund that you would like to get?
I am a recently retired CCO from a small broker dealer, so my answers should be viewed in that light.
I skim the disclosure documents, and spend most of my efforts on the summaries.
The disclosure documents are relatively understandable, but most of the information is boiler plate to appease the lawyers.
3. How well do current fund disclosures (such as a summary prospectus, prospectus, or shareholder report) help you pick an investment? Is it easy to compare different funds? Are there technology-based tools that could make fund comparisons easier? What helpful features do those tools have?
As I stated above, the summary is the most valuable. The full prospectus is so large as to be of little use to the average investor.
The Fund analyzers found on the FINRA website are good tools that I recommend to investors. In fact, our policies included links to the site.
4. Do you use the advice of a financial professional? Does a financial professional's help affect whether and how you use fund disclosures?
I don't use an Advisor. I believe that the use of an Advisor actually reduces the amount of time a consumer spends on reviewing disclosures. They rely on the financial professional in my experience.
5. How do you prefer to receive communications about fund investments? For example, do you prefer mail delivery, email, website availability, mobile applications, or a combination?
I receive information in all of the listed methods. However, the information mailed is of the least value. It should be made available for the people who want it, but a move toward electronic delivery is inevitable and welcomed. Again, the sheer bulk of the printed materials reduces their usefulness.
As a side note, the paper documents have extremely small print. Reading on a computer screen is easier in many cases because you can increase the font size. Mobile apps notwithstanding.
6. What types of fund information do you prefer to access electronically? What types of fund information do you prefer to receive in paper? Are there other wayssuch as by video or audio, you would like to receive fund information?
I personally don't need any paper information. Video and Audio might be useful for summaries, but obviously not for the longer documents.
7. How can the SEC better use technology and communication tools to help investors focus on important fund information?
8. Is there too much technical writing in fund disclosure? Would you prefer more tables, charts, and graphs? Would these graphic displayes be in addition to, or in place of, text-heavy disclosures?
As I mentioned above, there is currently too much verbiage. Tables charts and graphs would be preferable.
9. Do you prefer to receive shorter 'Summary' disclosures, with additional information available online or upon request?
10. Should fund disclosures be more personalized? For example, should disclosures show the amount of fees you paid or your actual investment returns? If so, how?
I personally want more information on the final return to the customer. Fees are important, but low fees with low returns is not a goal.
11. Do fund disclosures make the fund's strategies and the level of risk clear? How can funds improve these disclosures? Would a risk rating, such as a numerical or graphical measure of risk, be helpful?
The boiler plate on Risks add little to understanding. Numerical and/or a graph of risk might be better, but its always subject to opinion. In addition, a "grade" may provide a false sense of security.
12. Fund fees and expenses can significantly affect a fund's investment returns over time. Do you think funds clearly disclose their fees and expenses? How could funds improve the disclosure of fees and expenses? Would a comparison of your funds fees against other funds fees help?
Again, a comparison of fees without return information is useless.
13. Do you consider the past performance of a fund when making an investment decision? How could we improve the presentation of performance information?
I do review past performance.
14. Aside from this questionnaire, are there other ways the SEC can engage with investors, like you, on key topics? Is there anything else you would like to tell us?
I believe this questionnaire is valuable. Listening to advocacy groups for either side of the fence doesn't always provide the right balance.