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Many Fund Buyers Do Not Consider Key Facts

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Investors aren’t following the advice commonly given by financial professionals in buying mutual funds, a new survey by the Consumer Federation of America finds.

CFA, Washington, found many investors seem to give relatively little weight to factors such as mutual fund costs and risks that investor educators and regulators consider of top importance.

“In some cases, the survey findings may reveal a failure on the part of investors to take important steps to protect their interests,” said Barbara Roper, CFA’s director of investor protection. “In these cases, the challenge for investor educators is to figure out how to convey essential information more effectively. In other cases, however, the problem may be that the expert recommendations are simply unrealistic or fail to reflect the different needs of different types of fund purchasers.”

Among other key findings of the survey:

o28% of current mutual fund owners who purchased most of their funds from a financial professional said they relied totally on that professional’s advice without doing any further research.

o36% said they relied a great deal on the recommendation of the financial services professional but reviewed some material about the fund before the purchase.

o28% said they relied a fair amount on the recommendation but did a significant amount of research on their own before buying. Women were more likely than men to say they relied entirely on a professional’s recommendation, while men were more likely to say they relied a great deal on the professional’s recommendation.

CFA found the vast majority of investors have access to the Internet, and most are willing to use the Internet for at least some investment purchasing activities. Yet it also found resistance to using the Internet among certain groups, particularly older investors, and for certain types of activities, including receiving disclosure documents from financial professionals.


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