January 30, 2020
I understand that the SEC wants to implement this rule to protect naive investors from their own ignorance but this is misguided for several reasons:
1. Preventing investors from accessing leveraged ETFs will not stop them from accessing volatile stocks. There are currently 339 stocks on US exchanges that have a beta greater than 2. This rule does nothing to restrict access to these stocks, many of which are even more volatile than 3X leveraged ETFs. This rule could actually push investors into more dangerous products.
2. Investors seeking leverage but no longer able to access leveraged ETFs will turn to options or futures. With these products it is actually possible for an investor to lose more money than they have invested in the product, something that is impossible with even the most highly leveraged ETFs. Again, this rule will have the perverse effect of pushing investors into more dangerous products.
3. It is not the government's job to be America's mother. We are not the SEC's children and should not be treated as such. It is the SEC's job to prevent fraudulent and criminal activity in the financial markets. The commission should focus on catching the Bernie Madoffs and Enrons of the world and leave Americans alone to live their lives and invest their money as they see fit.
This rule restricting investor access to leveraged ETFs should not be implemented. It should be replaced by a rule requiring a simple disclosure that leveraged "ETFs can lose money at a much faster rate than non-leveraged products and should not be employed in a 100% buy-and-hold portfolio." This will satisfy the SEC's mission of preventing fraud without having the commission overstep its mandate.