The Fraser Institute has published a new report denouncing a set of new financial disclosures which mutual funds may eventually be required to make to investors. From a consumer protection standpoint, that sounds like a good thing to me. As usual, the Fraser Institute hacks feel otherwise, and they share these feelings without bothering to mention who (if anyone) paid for this study.
In the past, we know, the Fraser Institute has taken money from tobacco companies to argue against tobacco regulations, money from mining companies to promote deregulation in that sector, and money from companies who do business with China to promote the benefits of Canadian trade with China. This is, in short, their modus operandi, only difficult to prove because it is usually carried out in secret. So, the first question might be: which organization might oppose consumer protection laws, and have the money to commission a study of those laws?
I think you can guess the answer as well as I, and so we are left to wonder whether they got their money’s worth from the report. I rather doubt it, because as you can infer from the Fraser Institute’s chief objection to the new regulations, it would seem there’s actually not much there to criticize:
For people who prefer to digest information on a portable communications device, Fund Facts could be delivered through that device. However, if information is formatted for letter-sized paper, it could be difficult to review on smaller devices.
Ladies and gentlemen, I believe this is the Fraser Institute’s first formulation of the Blackberry defence: financial disclosure doesn’t count if it can’t be read on a smartphone. Interestingly enough, the Fraser Institute doesn’t habitually disclose its financial sources in a format that can be read on any device. They don’t seem to find this linkage as ironic as I do.
The Fraser Institute, as usual, proposes as its solution to throw out with the bathwater not just the baby, but most of the household furniture as well: there should be, they say, no need to have any format requirements at all. The chief argument for formatting requirements is that it would require companies to present their information in a similar layout which could be easily read and compared by potential customers. This is unnecessary, says the Institute’s Neil Mohindra, because that sort of sophisticated market research would require consumers to “read several documents” — a task he feels most Canadians are simply not up to.Tweet