Given the awful performance that some mutual fund companies have doled out over the past few year, it's high time investors got a decent present from the fund industry this holiday season. I recently came up with
my own wish list for the fund business -- some practical and fantastical ideas the industry could use to win back the confidence of investors. And readers responded with plenty of their own suggestions. Jonathan Leitner sent in three wishes that he has for the mutual fund business. "One: I want to know how much did my fund manager make this year? While this information is somewhat public, it should go right into the prospectus. The investor should see exactly how much they are paying the fund manager for their performance." Shareholders can do a rough calculation to figure out how much a fund company is making in management fees from a fund every year. Just take the assets in the fund and multiply by the management fee, which is part of the expense ratio and broken out in a fund's prospectus. That calculation won't give you an exact dollar amount -- because the assets change over the course of a year. But it will give you a good approximation of how much money the advisor took in.
Thankfully, some fund companies, such as Oakmark, do disclose their holdings more than twice a year and do a fine job of discussing those investments. Lastly, Jonathan wants to know what a fund is voting for. "Since mutual funds and fund families generally have large positions in companies, it would be nice to see how they are voting with my shares. This fight may never get solved, but it would be nice to see someone step up and set the standard." Well, this wish might actually come true. The Securities and Exchange Commission has proposed a rule that would force fund companies to disclose how they vote on shareholder proxies. The comment period on this proposal ends on Dec. 6. Big fund companies like Vanguard and Fidelity have come out against the SEC's move, pushing to keep those votes confidential. You'll have to wait and see if the weight of these firms shifts this SEC proposal.