February 26, 2008
Dear Sir or Madam:
I submit the following comments relating to your proposed ruling to allow mutual fund companies to send offering information to existing, and prospective, customers via the Internet, or allow them to simply make it available only on their Web sites.
During your discussion of this proposed ruling, please
1. It is a fact that more American families own mutual funds than have access to, or use, the Internet. Furthermore the latter figure is somewhat distorted by the fact that several Internet users do not use it for investment purposes but for entertainment only.
2. Some people who may have access to the Internet do not like to get their information, especially about financial matters, from the Web.
3. Some people have physical restrictions on how much and how well they can use the Internet.
4. The investors, current or prospective, who are disposed to receiving and studying fund prospectuses before investing, (your Agency used to say:
investigate before you invest), will obtain this information through the regular mail and study it before making any financial decisions. Those not inclined to do so will not, even if such information were available from the companiesí Web sites. Thus, the medium used to distribute such information does not affect the study and use of such information.
5. Publication and dissemination of fund-related information to prospective, and existing, customers are a legitimate part and expense for the fund companies. Whereas, for the customers it is an extra effort and expense to get such information through the Internet.
6. All such industry-sponsored, and if not sponsored then certainly supported, rulemaking by your Agency is done for the ostensible benefit of cost-savings.
Unfortunately, such cost saving does not benefit the customer, because it is never passed onto the customers. Please witness the increase in total fund management fees collected by the fund management companies, despite the economies of large-scale operation and industry growth that was expected to have produced cost benefits to the customers.
6. The information that the mutual fund companies are not required to send to their customers is available from non-fund companies, research sites, and advisory services as well as the popular business press. But such information is not required to be sent to the customers anyway, nor does it have any legal status.
The only thing that you would accomplish by implementing the proposed ruling is that you would absolve the fund companies from having to publish, print, and distribute such information to the customers. Of course, it would financially benefit the companies and not the customers.Thank you. Sincerely, David Singh