Subject: File No. S7-06-04
From: Stephen L. Roberts, CFP
Affiliation: Roberts Financial Group
Mar. 30, 2005
Mr. Jonathan G. Katz, Secretary
Securities and Exchange Commission
450 Fifth St., NW
Washington, DC 20549-0609
Dear Mr. Katz:
Having been in the investment and financial services business for 23 years, I am happy to see some of the regulatory changes that are taking place in the industry today. However, I am disappointed to see the above referenced SEC proposal regarding point of sale and confirmation disclosures.
I am affiliated with an independent broker/dealer because of the emphasis I place on the ability to offer my clients independent and objective assistance. I believe my clients will be adversely impacted by the SEC point of sale disclosure system proposal. First of all, it will limit the number of mutual funds and variable annuities that are available through me for my clients.
Secondly, it will have a tendency to mislead many investors that cost is the only consideration. I believe costs are one of the most important considerations in evaluating investments and I review this in great depth with my clients. But there are many additional factors that must be considered to ensure the investor has the most suitable investment. In explaining costs, I remind all potential investors that if cost is their only concern, they would be best served by handling their own investments using no-load funds and by-passing a financial advisor.
In reviewing this proposal, there is no doubt in my mind that the investor will ultimately pay the added cost of implementing this proposal. One way or another, firms will simply increase fees to cover the added cost.
If you could hear what my clients say when they see the mass of forms, disclosures and prospectuses that are put in front of them, you would seriously reconsider this proposal. I have seen this get worse and worse each year, with clients becoming more and more overwhelmed and confused.
I would rather see the SEC focus on making the prospectus more easily understood by the average investor. This, after all, is what it was originally designed for. I recommend that you incorporate this fee disclosure information in the prospectus and make it more easily understood by the average investors. In reality, adding another form or document will simply be one more reason for an investor not to read the information that they should be reading. Put this information in the prospectus and spell it out so that the average investors can and will truly understand it.
There are many other reasons too numerous to mention here but I urge you to reconsider this proposal.
Stephen L. Roberts, CFP
Roberts Financial Group