March 25, 2020
I am deeply troubled by the proposed regulations regarding the purchase and trading of leveraged and inverse funds.
The SEC appears to believe that these securities are designed for large, professional investors with easy access to capital... and that these securities are too volatile and risky for the "average" investor. This is, most certainly, NOT the case.
Many smaller investors (I am one of them) buy and sell these securities in the course of managing their investment portfolios. Sometimes we actively trade them. At other times, we use them to hedge our holdings and manage the risks involved. These tools are especially important during the extreme volatility the stock market is experiencing right now.
When these securities became widely available in recent years, they made it easier and more convenient for smaller investors to use shorting, hedging, and leveraged trading techniques that were once the exclusive playing field of wealthy investors and Wall Street operators. These instruments have leveled that playing field, and the investing public has benefited in the process.
Most investors who work with these securities are very much aware of the volatility and potential risks. I happen to hold an MBA in Finance, but it does not take that level of education to understand what is involved. It just takes a reasonable amount of prudence and common sense, and the majority of smaller investors have that understanding.
It seems the SEC feels it needs to baby-sit individuals and insure that we know what we're doing, have enough experience and available funds, etc. I assure you, we know what is going on. There are already effective regulations in place to protect the public from unscrupulous operators. We don't need additional regulation to protect us from ourselves. It is presumptuous -- and rather insulting -- that the SEC evidently feels otherwise.
Unfortunately, there will always be some people who will use poor judgement, make bad decisions involving investments they don't understand, or fall prey to fraudsters. This has always been the case. There have been countless penny-stock scams and other investment frauds over the years. The proposed rule will not curb any of this.
And I would like to point out that it is entirely possible for an uninformed or careless investor to suffer terrible losses on straightforward, conventional securities-- the "plain vanilla" stocks that are familiar to everyone. No leverage or inverse price action is necessary. The proposed rule will not prevent this, either.
I strongly recommend that the SEC seriously reconsider SEC Proposed Rule #S7-24-15, and permanently discard the idea of implementing it.
Thank you for your time and attention. I wanted to offer my comments while I still had a chance to do so at this late date.