Friday, July 08, 2005

Here's one of many examples of where some much needed regulation is a good thing.

Huge mutual fund firm Fidelity Investments has decided to revamp its research approach. In the past, the firm would hire young analysts fresh out of college and then have them cover an industry for a few years before promoting them to manage a fund.

Fidelity's COO, Bob Reynolds, commented on this change in the August edition of SmartMoney, "It's now more advantageous to have people experienced in a particular industry than ever before." Morningstar analyst Russ Kinnel states, "In the past, Fidelity could use its muscle to make up for its lack of depth. An analyst who had only been covering semiconductors for nine months could still do better than most because companies would give him information ahead of other analysts. That can't happen anymore."

In other words, Fidelity has always been accustomed to using its size and influence to game the system, to gain an unfair advantage by nearly always being the first to know anything about a stock before their competitors. They could effectively front-run the information. This is a big no-no and the long-needed correction only came about through regulation.

Let it be known that such rule changes came about thanks to Donaldson at the SEC -- who steadfastly resisted the pressure he received from the GOP to not introduce such rules. He's now gone and it will be interesting to see what happens with corporate-cozy Cox in his place. Nevertheless, regulations are not inherently evil or bad and can very often help to level the playing field for all Americans and encourage fair play and genuine competition.

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