For example, investment advisors can use all research materials obtained by soft dollars to use all their clients. Flexible dollar advocates say the abolition of this practice could hamper the research efforts of investment advisors and reduce their clients` returns. The use of soft dollars does not violate the officer`s loyalty obligation, provided the money is paid for research that meets SEC requirements and actual transaction costs. In fact, it can provide valuable research information to both executives and their clients. Let`s take a look at an example: Wittenberg LLP provides computer equipment and software to MegaMutual Fund for the transmission of investment information. As part of an agreement or agreement between the two companies, MegaMutual will pay for these services by transferring business to Feral Hitch, a large brokerage. Feral Hitch charges extra for MegaMutual trades. The money from these fees will then go to Wittenberg, who will in turn receive his compensation for his benefits to MegaMutual. The supplement is usually one-tenth of a cent, but as MegaMutual processes billions of shares a day, the amount added to real money – the fees it would have had to pay in hard dollars. From a technical point of view, the investment fund would disclose the harsh research costs in its administrative costs. However, this tax is not paid by the administration fee if it is paid with soft dollars. Fund managers say institutional investors end up bearing all the costs.
However, the use of soft dollars to fund research results does not allow investors to conduct an accurate cost analysis when selecting the fund. The term “flexible dollars” refers to payments made by investment funds and other fund managers to their service providers. The difference between soft and hard dollars is that instead of paying service providers in cash (i.e. hard dollars), the investment fund pays benefits in kind (i.e. with soft dollars) by passing the activity to intermediation. The soft values of the dollar are neither determinable nor equal. What an investment manager receives in the form of services may be different from what another officer receives. This opens the door to conflict and abuse. Investment fund investors never know how much of their transaction costs will be applied to soft services or their actual investment. The alternative would be for managers to buy research with their own money or hard dollars and pay the transaction fees with their clients` money.
In general, a particular product or service enters the shelter, when an advisor can demonstrate that the search or placement service obtained with soft dollars: i) is a research or brokerage service eligible within the specific limits of the Safe Harbour; (ii) provides legitimate and appropriate assistance in fulfilling an advisor`s investment decision obligations, including the appropriate treatment of “mixed” goods (i.e., certain products and services can be used in a mixed manner and, depending on the terms, the way the consultant uses products or services, is divided between hard and soft dollars, and (iii) the amount of customer commissions paid is appropriate given the value of the products or services provided by the broker. As soft dollar practices have become more complex, we have developed soft dollar standards to provide guidance beyond our code of ethics and professional behavior standards.