Endnote: This Year's Winners
May 9, 2005
After weathering the Spitzer storm, the SEC's chief mutual fund regulator proves his mettle by bringing a wave of lawsuits against mutual fund powerhouses that continues today, not to mention a record 14 new regulations, marking Roye's tenure as the most fruitful in the Commission's history.
Bowing out on top while undoubtedly breathing a sigh of relief, Roye announces his resignation in February and shifts gears by joining the American Funds legal team in sunny Los Angeles in May as SVP.
Give Em a Break
American Funds slashes fees by 5%-twice. Investors in the $95 billion flagship Growth Fund of America are now only paying 25 basis points. Not only regulatory, but market pressures mount for fund companies to lower fees-with shareholders coming out the winners.
As investors begin to wise up to the wisdom of rock-bottom fees and financial advisers become more comfortable with stocking clients' portfolios with these passive vehicles, Fidelity and Vanguard launch an index fund price war. Not to be outdone, Schwab joins the fray, and fund houses, brokerages and operations providers become more diligent about passing the buck along back to shareholders in the form of breakpoints.
Moves one step closer to the No. 1 corner office, at the inner sanctum at Fidelity at 82 Devonshire Street, by being put in charge of the benefits business.
The Mutual Fund Industry
Although separately managed accounts, and, now, hedge funds for the masses are nipping at its heels, the mutual fund industry posts record profits and reaches a record $8.1 trillion in assets under management.
Bring on the lawyers, the analysts, the regulators, the consultants, the academics and the journos. The soapbox for those in and covering the mutual fund industry seemed to get bigger in the past year or two since the scandal broke, with the press pool of journalists covering mutual funds, retirement and Social Security expanding, and even the ICI having a more authoritative and critical say.
It cannot be denied that the scandal has led to lower fees, and, to some extent, a better educated investor, but will the lower fees really last or will investors fall back into passive mode?