On November 19, the Securities and Exchange Commission voted unanimously to improve mutual fund disclosure by requiring that funds provide investors with a concise, plain English prospectus summary of the key information investors need to make informed investment decisions. The rule changes are effective on February 28, 2009, and funds must begin complying with the form changes on January 1, 2010.
Specifically, the SEC adopted amendments to Form N-1A, the registration form for mutual funds, to require that every mutual fund provide a summary of key information at the front of its statutory prospectus about the fund's investment objectives and strategies, risks, and costs. The summary will include information regarding the fund’s investment advisers and portfolio managers, purchase and sale procedures, tax consequences, and financial intermediary compensation.
The SEC also adopted a new rule that permits a mutual fund to send a summary prospectus in satisfaction of prospectus delivery requirements if the mutual fund's summary prospectus, statutory prospectus and other specified information are available online. The online materials must be user friendly, provide investors the ability to download and retain an electronic version of the information and be provided in paper or by e-mail upon request.