From: Gregory T. Bond
Jonathan G. Katz
Re: SEC Proposal on Point of Sale and Confirmation Disclosures
Dear Mr. Katz:
I love helping my clients achieve their financial goals and have built my practice on the fundamentals of client education, high quality advice and placement of the most appropriate investment vehicles based on an unbiased assessment of client needs. I am a CPA turned financial advisor and since my entry into the industry, have been encouraged by the many high quality credentialed professionals (accountants, attorneys, MBA's etc.) coming into the financial services and advice industry. With these type of professionals we can steadily raise the quality of advice to the mass investing public, our clients.
I am however, very concerned about the potential detrimental impact of overly burdensome and misguided regulation, like the SEC's proposal on point of sale and confirmation disclosures, will have for my clients and investors.
The SEC point of sale disclosure system, as proposed, would have the unintended consequence of substantially limiting the service and related investment products I am now able to offer my clients. This could affect approximately 500 clients who hold mutual funds as well as other investments currently.
Furthermore, while cost is an important factor in any investment decision, this proposal misleads investors into believing that the lowest cost product is the most suitable versus encouraging investors to weigh all factors of suitability. I in fact offer some of the most cost effective products in the industry, but they are not always the cheapest.
If this proposal is adopted "as is" the individual investor will ultimately pay the added cost of implementing this proposal, either through increased fees, or worse, limitation in the number of products I can offer. I have recently begun to limit my services to only clients who I can profitably advise. This action was taken in large part due to the additional burdens placed on me after 911.This proposal will undoubtedly force me to raise the bar even higher, depriving less affluent clients of access to quality advice. These younger starter couples, older less fortunate or even widows, are perhaps the most in need of quality advice. I feel it is our duty within our industry to regulate but in a practical and responsible manner, so that not just the elite can have access to the advice and financial products they need to achieve their goals.
In listening to my clients I often get requests to reduce the paper flow (which refers to the prospectus that is provided). This, despite the forms they sign indicating receipt and encouraging them to read this important material. The complexity of the proposal runs the risk of further burying and confusing investors with materials they will likely read less than they do now. Rather than adopt the current proposal, I would urge the SEC to re-focus its efforts on incorporating important fee information into the prospectus and in turn, creating a more user-friendly prospectus that would better aid investors in their decision making process.
We in the financial industry are in the business of providing the important client education and advice critical to the proper placement of the complex but important products or clients need.
We can not take the easy way out by addressing this need for meaningful information by simply adding another layer of paper to the already confusing informational format we call the prospectus.
We must take the time and effort to find a better way to provide the investor with the critical summary information they need to make an informed decision. Surely, with the minds and resources of this great country we can collaborate within the industry to provide a more innovative solution.
I would encourage you to talk to the key players in this equation, fund companies, broker/dealers,
Representatives and most importantly clients. I of course would be happy to be a part of that process.
Gregory T. Bond, CPA