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SEC Adopts Rule 30e-3, Seeks Comment on Disclosure Modernization and Fees Charged by Intermediaries

The SEC adopted new rule 30e‑3 under the 1940 Act, giving mutual funds an optional “notice and access” method to transmit shareholder reports. Under the rule, a fund may deliver its shareholder reports by making them publicly accessible on a website, free of charge, and sending investors a paper notice of each report’s availability by mail.  Investors who prefer to receive the full reports in paper may choose that option free of charge.  The rule requires that a paper notice be sent to an investor each time a current shareholder report is accessible online. The notice must include instructions for how an investor can elect to receive all future reports in paper, or request to receive particular reports in paper on an ad hoc basis. Funds may rely on the new rule beginning no earlier than January 1, 2021 but must notify investors in advance. In general, funds will be required to provide two years of notice to shareholders before relying on the rule. Therefore, funds that begin providing notice at the start of 2019 will complete the two-year notice period, and may begin relying on the rule, on January 1, 2021. The rule received a 4-1 vote, with Commissioner Robert Jackson voting against, according to the Wall Street Journal. The SEC also issued two requests for comment: the first seeking comment from individual investors and others on enhancing fund disclosures to improve the investor experience; and the second seeking comment on the framework for processing fees charged to funds by intermediaries for the forwarding of fund shareholder reports and other materials to investors. The SEC also provided a website where investors and others can provide feedback on how to improve the experience of fund investors. 

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