American Funds Fields Unusual Backlash Over Executive Interview

Monday, April 11, 2011 22:40
American Funds Fields Unusual Backlash Over Executive Interview

Tags: mutual funds

American Funds is facing what could amount to a tempest in a teapot after its president was quoted in Barron's as blaming advisors for overselling its mutual funds as "able to defy gravity."

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To me, when Kevin Clifford said advisors' claims for his funds were "foolish," he isn't blaming or "dissing" the advisors so much as simply acknowledging that his firm's products aren't necessarily the most amazing thing ever invented.


It can be hard to admit that your company's hype has gotten ahead of its actual ability to perform in good and bad market conditions alike. But how do you get the people who get paid to sell your product to tone it down? 


Clifford probably shouldn't have singled out the advisors, since that raises too many question about just how aggressive his own wholesalers were when it came to pushing claims of how great American funds might be. 


The company claims there was a "miscommunication." Seems that there's an urge out there to accuse the fund complexes as well, which may reveal a backlash ahead.


If advisors can't in good conscience sell a fund, they shouldn't feel any compulsion to do so because of its reputation or the commission scale. And if they sell it anyway and it fails to live up, I find it hard to blame the fund.




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