Will 2010 Be the Year the SEC Takes on 12b-1?
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Friday, February 5, 2010

Will 2010 Be the Year the SEC Takes on 12b-1?

Perhaps the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) will try to tackle 12b-1 fee reform in a big way in 2010. On Friday chairman Mary Schapiro revealed that she asked the commission's staff to provide a recommended reform for Schapiro and her fellow commissioners to consider this year.

"The problem is that investors may have no idea these fees are being deducted, what services they are paying for, or who they are ultimately compensating," Schapiro said at "SEC Speaks" in Washington, D.C. "That's why I believe we need to critically rethink how 12b-1 fees are used and whether they continue to be appropriate."

As for money market mutual funds, fundsters should not breathe a sigh of relief yet even though the SEC has already adopted some reforms. The floating net asset value (NAV) proposal, hated by some in the industry, is still on the table for Schapiro.

"Our money market fund reforms are not yet done," Schapiro added. "We will be considering more measures to address money market fund risk, especially the risk of a run on money market funds. In particular, I have directed our staff to examine the merits of a floating, mark-to-market NAV for money market funds, rather than the stable $1 price."

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