Think the new certifications that top fund company executives are going to personally give their shareholder reports will result in more insightful, vivid descriptions of their business? Think again, fund executives and attorneys tell The Wall Street Journal.
What is most likely to get toning down are portfolio managers statements of opinion, because no top executive will want to vouch for forward-looking statement, fund insiders say. If such speculative statements are certified, it could open a fund company up to litigation, Janet Olsen, general counsel of Artisan Funds, told WSJ.
Barry Barbash, former fund chief at the Securities and Exchange Commission, agreed that fund companies annual and semi-annual reports are likely to be more bland. "The next word that people think of after certification is liability, and they are going to be much more careful," Barbash said.
In its comment letter, the Investment Company Institute, which advised against certification, said the section of reports where management discusses fund performance "almost certainly would result in a scaled back, less robust discussion of information that investors find useful."
But Longleaf, which described some of the holdings in the Longleaf Partners Fund in its 2002 annual report as capable of double-digit growth, said it would not likely change its reports.