Added by on 2009-03-21

The latest news from the Market front lines comes from Marketwatch under the headline “Funds hike fees, adding to investor pain.” It’s a funny day when after the scams, frauds, business missteps and massive losses of the past year that the answer to the investor is, “you’ll just have to pay more for the privilege.”It’s a joke if rents increase, home prices go up and your bank decreases interest and increases loan fees in response to the deflation and poor economic conditions It’s more likely to see a car dealer offer “buy one get one free” than to see “owner must pay mansion rent, prices over list, come by today.” So as funds offer an idea to make the bad economy work better for them, redeem all your money and tell them goodbye.

Companies like Vanguard and Fidelity are headed by people who are on the Forbe’s list. They have billions of dollars of wealth and have made that wealth managing growing funds as the fake economy, driven by massive leverage, created an illusory expansion. Now that those funds are shrinking, they need to tell staff, employees and key persons that the gravy train has left the station and that salary and bonus cuts across the board are required to make the business model work.

Not that I’m smarter than the world’s best economists, but supply and demand is a simple idea. There is not that much demand for fund managers who lost a ton of money during the past year and quite honestly, managing funds, trading, reconciling trades and customer service at a financial firm is better from a perspective of quality of life and insurance risk of injury than putting bolts on a wheel in Flint, Michigan or working in a soup kitchen, so if Fidelity says there’s a 20% pay cut across the board, it’s unlikely that employees will go to another Fidelity who is saying pretty much the same thing.

Don’t allow companies you do business with to increase fees to keep their revenues constant in a shrinking GDP. If they send you a notice marking a fee increase, transfer your account to another firm that is not stupid, and if they all act to increase fees in collusion with one another, put your money in a safe in your closet. The catchphrase of the day is “redeem it all.”

Be mindful, be careful, and good luck!

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