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Wednesday, June 29, 2005

How First Command Gets Access to Troops 
The old fashioned way, of course! They pay the leadership off!

Acting State University of New York Chancellor John Ryan has served on an advisory board of an investment firm that paid $12 million to settle a federal probe into the company's use of misleading statements to sell "enormously expensive" mutual funds to active servicemen. Minutes after his membership was reported yesterday, Ryan announced his resignation from the advisory board of the firm, First Command Financial Planning. Ryan, a retired Navy vice admiral who is also on the board of Cablevision Systems, has served on the First Command panel since 2002, collecting $10,000 to $15,000 a year. Ryan said that unlike other companies that targeted enlisted personnel, First Command sold only to commissioned and noncommissioned officers, who he said are more savvy investors. Nevertheless, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 405-2 yesterday to ban the sale of such funds.


In fairness to the Admiral and to First Command, this is pretty standard fare. A lot of mutual funds have lapdogs on their boards of directors who rubber-stamp outrageous fee increases while looking the other way while fund managers rape investors with market-timing schemes, after-hours trading, sweet deals, and 12-b-1 charges that do nothing - NOTHING!!!! - to benefit the investor who relies on the directors to look out for their interests.

Amerindo Funds had a board of directors. What were they doing while Alberto Vilar was stealing millions?

And then there's the Enron and Global Crossing crew. So Meyers was making chump change.

Nevertheless, Meyers was letting his palm get greased so First Command could beat out USAA's good business, and charge ridiculous up-front 50 percent commissions to unsophisticated investors so their reps could put soldiers and sailors and marines and airmen into chronically lousy investment products.

And then run around badmouthing the people who point out how lousy they are.

Thanks, Admiral!!!

Splash, out

Jason

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