(Bloomberg News) The Securities and Exchange Commission will return to work on mutual-fund fees "with full force" once it gets past the July deadline for many Dodd-Frank Act rules, SEC Commissioner Elisse Walter said.
"Every dollar collected in 12b-1 fees is a dollar deducted from a fund's return," Walter said Friday in a Washington speech, referring to fees mutual funds charge for marketing. The agency will focus attention on the fees again when it clears the bulk of its Dodd-Frank work, she said in the comments delivered at a Mutual Fund Directors Forum conference.
The SEC is writing as many as 100 rules required by Dodd- Frank, the regulatory overhaul enacted last year. Many of the rules must be completed by July 21, the one-year anniversary of the law being signed by President Barack Obama.
On the day Dodd-Frank was enacted, SEC commissioners voted unanimously on a proposal to increase disclosure and cap fees investors pay over time. Under the measure, a company couldn't charge more in 12b-1 fees for a class of fund shares that continue to solicit new investors than they charge for classes that don't.
The SEC in 1980 allowed mutual funds to charge clients distribution fees to pay for advertising as the industry struggled to attract new investors. Those payments amounted to $9.5 billion in 2009, and money managers are increasingly using proceeds to pay brokers who sell funds. That has prompted regulators to re-examine the purpose and need for 12b-1 fees.