July 23, 2010
There will be unintended(possibly intended)consequences for the changes being proposed. One consequence will be a loss of a lot of jobs in the financial advice arena. Many people need advice and do not mind paying for it. Choices currently(already) exist if some one wants to invest on their own. The fees are generally less when this avenue is taken. We always fully disclose all the fees associated with different share classes and allow our customers to make a choice. We even tell the customers about "no-load" funds. For the government to take over the market forces in yet another industry is a shame and not capitalistic. I have been in this industry for some time now and have experienced the fee compression that has come about by competition. This is healthy and market driven. This move could literally cost thousands of jobs of the people and staff that provide sound financial advice to many citizens who desperately need good counsel. These changes will likely promote more transactions in the industry which I believe are not necessarily in the customer's best interests. These changes will also reward very established professionals in the industry and make it very difficult for new reps to get established in an alreadly tough field.
If the SEC would focus on areas of real concern such as enforcing and/or doing away with Flash Trading, Credit Default Swaps, crazy amounts of leverage in some financial products, and Naked Shorting, our markets and consumers of financial products would be much more stable and better off.
If you take out market forces, you can collapse an industry. I know you are arguing that you are making the market more competitive, but we already give away a lot of free advice. This proposal seemingly will make most of our advice free. This would be the equivalent of imposing on the real estate industry a 2% commission structure when they are accustomed to a 7%. Is that area not competitive enough either? How about insurance sales?
I would argue that we are one of the only industries that do spell out exactly what the costs are for buying a product. I think it is good business to tell people what they are paying for the services rendered.
The statistics that you cite regarding the amount of money being paid for 12B-1 fees do not mention the growth of wealth and investment that our country thankfully has experienced since the 1970s and therefore is a misrepresentation of the total picture. You cite only the dollar growth, not inflation, how the 12B-1 fees were implemented,growth of the overall market,size of the mutual fund industry then vs. now, etc.