The Securities and Exchange Commission is considering forcing mutual funds to disclose fees and performance as simple numbers, SEC Chairman Christopher Cox told the Los Angeles Times in an interview. Funds should report “one simple number that captures fees and expenses,” he said, noting that the information is typically buried in fund prospectuses.

“It’s our top regulatory priority,” he said. “There are always technical concerns raised by someone, but the truth is that apples-to-apples comparisons are quite useful for consumers. The same should be possible for our retirement savings.”

SEC Commissioner Roel C. Campos agreed: “If the government expects retirees to manage their own accounts, they need to know how their investments are doing, and right now, many don’t know how they are doing.”

Barbara Roper, director of investor protection at the Consumer Federation of America, applauded the idea. “It’s a good concept: giving people simply, easily comparable information,” she said. “The question is whether they’ll come up with a number that is really meaningful.”

Subscribe Now

Access to premium content including in-depth coverage of mutual funds, hedge funds, 401(K)s, 529 plans, and more.

3-Week Free Trial

Insight and analysis into the management, marketing, operations and technology of the asset management industry.