FINRA Introduces New Functionality and Design to Fund Analyzer
Investors can research and compare more than 30,000 products
WASHINGTON — The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) has introduced a new and improved Fund Analyzer tool to help investors and financial professionals understand the impact of fees and potentially discounts on mutual funds, exchange-traded funds, exchange-traded notes and money market funds.
The Fund Analyzer’s live data feed allows individuals to sort through and compare more than 30,000 products and run a wide variety of investment scenarios. The tool also enables users to calculate how a fund’s fees, expenses and discounts impact the value of a fund over time.
“The enhanced design allows investors to better determine which funds might meet their investing needs at the lowest cost while providing the best value,” said Gerri Walsh, FINRA’s Senior Vice President for Investor Education. “We have also added advanced features that allow the tool to model typical investor behaviors and to illustrate the impact that wrap accounts or flat fees can have on overall costs as well as future account value when holding mutual funds.”
Users may select up to three funds at a time to compare. After they input the amount of money they plan to invest and how long they plan to keep the fund, the Fund Analyzer performs the calculations. Other important features of the tool include:
- An innovative display that helps visualize how a fund’s annual operating expenses compare to their product and share class peers;
- Common discounts such as Rights of Accumulation and Letters of Intent, which can be modeled to create a more precise analysis for investors who take advantage of these discounts;
- Advanced features that allow analysis of new and emerging share classes with variable and firm-specific fee scenarios;
- Fund-by-fund details regarding potential discounts funds may offer to investors; and
- Data on a fund’s past performance, including how the process behind Morningstar ratings and access to important fund documentation.
In a recent survey of 2,000 investors with non-retirement investment accounts, the FINRA Investor Education Foundation found that 74 percent of households surveyed owned individual stocks and 64 percent owned mutual funds.
“While stocks and mutual funds are the most commonly-held types of investments, other types of investments such as ETFs are less widely owned,” Walsh said. “The Fund Analyzer tool can help investors make more informed choices. None of us can control future fund performance, but we can control our costs. One percent difference in fees can add up to tens of thousands of dollars over 20 years.”
The earlier version of Fund Analyzer tool is still available on FINRA’s website until February 1, 2018. In the coming months, FINRA also plans to feature instructional videos to help investors better understand the Fund Analyzer’s more advanced features and data analyses functions.
Investors can obtain more information about, and the disciplinary record of, any FINRA-registered broker or brokerage firm by using FINRA's BrokerCheck or by calling (800) 289-9999. In 2016, members of the public used this free service to conduct 111 million reviews of broker or firm records. Investors can also call FINRA's Securities Helpline for Seniors at (844) 57-HELPS for assistance with concerns or questions about their brokerage accounts and investments.
FINRA is dedicated to investor protection and market integrity. It regulates one critical part of the securities industry – brokerage firms doing business with the public in the United States. FINRA, overseen by the SEC, writes rules, examines for and enforces compliance with FINRA rules and federal securities laws, registers broker-dealer personnel and offers them education and training, and informs the investing public. In addition, FINRA provides surveillance and other regulatory services for equities and options markets, as well as trade reporting and other industry utilities. FINRA also administers a dispute resolution forum for investors and brokerage firms and their registered employees. For more information, visit www.finra.org.