A study by the SIA on mutual fund portability indicates that more than 90% of mutual funds distributed by top firms are “as portable or more portable than three years ago.”
The study’s findings are not surprising to several producers.
A Merrill Lynch rep from the Midwest who moved from another firm, says: “There is no problem moving them over. The only problem is you can’t add to them. They’re portable, but you’re unable to buy any more and you have to end up selling them. So it’s kind of a joke.”
Portability isn’t the real issue, the broker adds, “Once they’ve been moved, what can you do other than sell them?”
Brokerage firms as well as no-load fund groups have been criticized for having nontransferable products. The survey is an ongoing attempt by the SIA to blunt some of that criticism.
Responses to the survey were received from 60 firms, representing a cross-section of SIA's membership. Other findings include: affiliated funds make up less than 8% of the total number of funds distributed by responding firms; firms that distribute the largest number of funds are also the most likely to advise customers when fund shares are not portable; the availability of mutual fund supermarkets and asset allocation or similar programs has greatly increased the number of funds that firms distribute and hold.
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