November 4, 2010
To whom this concerns:
I have been in the financial services industry and a registered representative for approximately 25 years. I am in favor of SEC Rule 12b-2 which would continue the 25 basis pts. fee that allows financial service professionals to receive for providing investors quality personal service and marketing. This rule also proposes the use of terminology such as " marketing and service fees " in place of " 12b-1 fees " which I have no problem with. It actually is a more self explanatory description of that charge for the investor, which in my opinion makes sense.
I do however strongly object to the SEC permitting mutual funds to issue a new class of shares at net asset value that would allow broker-dealers to set their own sales charge and commission amount. This would be detrimental to the middle market investors in obtaining needed personal service and advice. As broker-dealers lower their sales charges and fees in an effort to gain market share, it will no longer be financially feasible for registered representatives to continue to provide the level of individualized advice and ongoing service that we currently provide to our middle and lower market clients. As a result of this type of action, only upper-income investors who can afford assets-under-management arrangement or higher cost/higher service classes of shares will continue to receive personalized investment advice. Investors with smaller fund balances will be forced to self-direct their accounts because their advisors will no longer be able to afford to guide and advice them. This type of action will leave the middle and lower market investors with the only affordable option of using discount brokerage fund platforms. thus the people the SEC is trying to protect the most - middle and lower market investors - will be hurt the most since they will be deprived of the personal guidance and service they need and deserve.
Thank you for consideration of my opinion.