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当心:美国劳工部新法案或将限制替代金融投资

新法案的出台往往是“出于好意”,然而却常常难逃目光短浅的怪圈,最终并不会为特定收益群体带来多少帮助。今天要讲的故事也是一样。

美国劳工部拟在近日推出新规,不过这一举措有可能会对公民个人退休账户(IRAs)投资造成影响。除了在语言方面晦涩难懂之外,新的监管条款还增加了个人IRAs中持有OTC证券或其他新资产的难度。MicroCapClub对此进行了一番简要全面的概括:

问题的最大来源是一项“最优利益合同豁免”(BICE),该条例允许经纪商像过去一样收取佣金并获得补偿。BICE中的一项条款将个人可在IRA中可持有的资产限定在以下范围内,包括“银行存款、大额可转让存单、注册投资公司的股份或利息、银行共同基金、保险公司独立账户、场内房地产信托投资基金、场内基金、依照1933年证券法案注册发行的公司债券、依照FINRA规定6710 (l)或其后续法案定义的机构债券、依照FINRA规定6710(P)货期后续法案规定的美国国债、债券和非债券形式的保险和年金,担保投资合同、在17 CFR 242.600定义的场内证券中,同时符合17 CFR 230.405定义的股本证券”。目前IRA中可持有的资产范围还相对较大。将要被BICE禁止的三项具体的资产分别为:OTC证券、场内期权以及期货。

在其他获利手段十分丰富的今天,如果IRA仅仅被限定在只能投资于最普通的资产,这可能会触及为退休努力存钱的储户们的利益。随便一个IRA管理公司的员工都会告诉你,持有众筹股本或债券等资产的投资者数量正在直线上升。那么美国劳工部此举又是何为?表面上是为了实践创造良好的环境,同时保护消费者利益。但是在细节上总是会出问题。而政府又恰恰总是能出台一些迷惑人的条例。从条例中获益的人少,被条例迷惑的人反而多。

OTC Markets的首席执行官Cromwell Coulson倡导要留存投资者选择的权利,他在接受采访时表示:

“除非公众反对十分强烈,否则劳工部提议法案看起来是对投资者可交易的场内证券做出了限制,实则是对其经纪商提出要更高标准的要求。法案一旦通过,投资人选择将会受限、在《JOBS法案》下融资的企业资金池会缩小、同时会影响非场内交易公司的二级市场。”

 

 

Regulations usually possess good intent, but all too frequently are near-sighted and fall far short of assisting targeted beneficiaries. This may be another case of myopic regulators not taking a moment to think beyond what superficially may appear to be a plus, but ends up being another rule-making boondoggle.

The US Department of Labor (DOL) is proposing rules that may impact Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs). While convoluted in language, the regulatory approach would make it more difficult to hold shares of OTC securities and other new asset classes in IRAs. The MicroCapClub has a very good write up on the issue, but in brief, according to MCC;

The biggest cause of the problems is … from one of the proposals called the Best Interest Contract Exemptions (BICE) which allows brokers to charge commissions and receive compensation as they have in the past. One provision of BICE is that it limits the type of assets that can be held in an IRA to: “bank deposits, CDs, shares or interests in registered investment companies, bank collective funds, insurance company separate accounts, exchange-traded REITs, exchange-traded funds, corporate bonds offered pursuant to a registration statement under the Securities Act of 1933, agency debt securities as defined in FINRA Rule 6710(l) or its successor, U.S. Treasury securities as defined in FINRA Rule 6710(p) or its successor, insurance and annuity contracts (both securities and non-securities), guaranteed investment contracts, and equity securities within the meaning of 17 CFR 230.405 that are exchange-traded securities within the meaning of 17 CFR 242.600.” Currently, IRAs allow a broader range of products to be held than this limited list. Three specific examples of what would be prohibited in BICE accounts are OTC securities, exchange-traded options, and futures.

If IRAs are limited to vanilla investments, in a world of growing alternative asset opportunities, this may hurt savers in their mission of building sufficient capital for retirement. If you speak to any number of IRA management firms, an increasing number of investors are holding alternative assets such as crowdfunded equity and debt. Why would the DOL do this? Ostensibly to create an environment of best practices and consumer protection. But the devil is always in the details and the government has an excellent track record of creating confusing rules that befuddle many while benefitting few.

Crowdfund Insider reached out to Cromwell Coulson, CEO of OTC Markets, who obviously has a claim in this fight. Coulson advocates on behalf of maintaining investor choice;

“Unless there is strong public opposition, the proposed DOL Fiduciary Rule looks to limit opportunities for investors to only exchange traded securities while imposing higher standards on their brokers. If passed, the proposed rule will limit investor choice, reduce pools of capital available for companies using JOBS Act fund raising and hurt secondary markets in non-exchange traded companies.”

Disclaimer:This article was previously published on Crowdfund Insider. The content is being reproduced with the express permission of the Crowded Media Group, the publishers of Crowdfund Insider. Copyright 2015


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