PALM DESERT, Calif. - Andrew Donohue, director of the Securities and Exchange Commission's Division of Investment Management, said Monday that he doesn't think the SEC will push for changes to rule 12b-1 govering mutual fund fees this year.

"We are still committed to its reform, but I think it would be wise to defer consideration of 12b-1 reforms for this year," Donohue said at the Investment Company Institute's Mutual Fund and Investment Management Conference at the Desert Springs Marriott Resort here.

In 1980, the industry was hit with a high level of redemptions. In 2007, reforms were a much higher priority, as mutual funds were approaching $10 trillion in assets. Now that performance is down and redemptions are back up, priorities have changed, he said.

Adviser Clients Beat S&P By 16 Percentage Points

Financial advisers proved their worth in the second half of 2008, with their clients' average returns 16 percentage points higher than the S&P 500, Fidelity found in a survey of 300 investors and 200 advisers. Investors lost an average of 27% between Aug. 27, 2008 and Feb. 27, 2009, while the S&P 500 dropped 43% in that period. However, investor reviews on that advice were mixed, with 32% of investors saying their adviser minimized investment losses during the past six months, and 24% saying they failed to do so. Nonetheless, most advisers said their clients didn't panic during the market's steep downturn at the end of the year.

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