Securities Fee Cut Could Save Money For Plans, Participants

January 25, 2001 ( - Senate Banking Chairman Phil Gramm and New York Sen. Charles Schumer have renewed a bipartisan plan to lower the fees charged to register and trade securities, a move that could mean big savings for retirement plans - and individual participants.

Senator Gramm noted that an average investor with a simple 401k retirement plan ends up paying about $1,000 over his or her lifetime in SEC fees alone.

The legislation would reduce all securities user fees, including:

  • registration
  • transaction
  • merger/tender fees

It would also place a cap on the total amount of fees collected.

Operating Expense

The SEC currently collects about $2.3 billion each year in section 31 fees, though it requires less than $400 million annually in operating expenses.

The senators estimate that U.S. investors could collectively save as much as $14 billion over the next decade with their proposed fee reduction, though it also provides for the SEC to raise fees if needed.

The legislation would also allow the SEC to give its employees a pay raise that would bring their salary levels in line with that of other federal agencies. Currently, regulators at the Federal Reserve, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) earn 24% – 39% more than SEC staffers doing similar work, according to Dow Jones.

– Nevin Adams