January 30, 2020
There are several valid reasons for restricting investment in leveraged funds. Reasons like:
the money isnt entirely the investors to invest: partnership funds, stolen or coerced funds, borrowed funds, etc...
the investor truly doesnt understand the nature of the funds (and this becomes very subjective very quickly)
the fund itself is not legitimate or perpetrating some kind of fraud/ponzu-scheme
But most definitely deciding for an investor that some minimum financial qualification must be met should NOT be a requirement unless perhaps similar restrictions be applied uniformly, for example:
regulations that require gamblers in a casino to prove that they can afford to bet a given amount (or at all (and with the previous three factors taken into account)
regulations that require a person to prove they can afford to open a new business
rules on how expensive a car a person can buy or what house or land they are permitted to buy as a virtue of their resources.
Of course no rules like these would ever be enacted and for good reason: it is every individuals free choice and right to make their own decisions in these matters and, in some cases, to fail to make the right choices and lose resources as a result. Thats because they are CHOICES.
Asking an investor to demonstrate a basic knowledge of the differences in the funds might not be such a bad idea, but how would it be practically implemented? If the SEC is truly concerned, spend the effort and budget to create a truly first-rate educational program. Then simply ask each investor to acknowledge they are aware of the information available before investing (and perhaps certify the funds are legitimately theirs to invest under acknowledgement of extreme and inescapable penalties for misrepresentation).
In my particular circumstance, my finances were unexpectedly disminished for two reasons:
1. significant IRS errors and,
2. dealing with an insurance company taking advantage of federal ERISA regulations to operate with effective impunity in bad faith (Cigna)
I made a conscious choice to use these riskier investments and, at, times, it looked like an error. It required constant, close vigilance and an occasional Xanax. But thanks to these investment opportunities I was able to consistently generate significantly better returns overall than I could have in any other way, even with a couple spectacular losses.
Any regulation that would have sought to protect me from myself would have only had the opposite effect giving me less chance to recover from other financial damage owed to the other regulations of other federal entities.
My biggest risk pertaining to leveraged ETF holdings is the power wielded by institutional-class investors and high-speed and automated trading that can cause unthinkable changes in value in a matter of minutes or seconds. I would be much better served by considering how to soften that potential risk instead of telling me I simply cant be an investor here.