AFR in the News: Fees Soar on Structured Notes Tied to Stocks

Bank fees charged on structured notes tied to stocks climbed to a three-year high in the first quarter of 2013, according to Kevin Dugan of Bloomberg.

“Issuers and underwriters earned $137.7 million in disclosed fees, or 1.95 percent of the $7.08 billion of equity-tied securities that paid a commission…,” Dugan writes, noting that the fee increases come with the Fed holding its benchmark interest rate below 0.25 percent for the fifth straight year. “Equity-tied notes account for almost 70 percent of U.S. structured note sales, their highest proportion since at least January 2010,” the article points out.

“Generally speaking, the more mainstream a product becomes, the lower the fees,” Lori Schock, the SEC’s director of investor education and advocacy told Bloomberg. “The fact that the fees are going up, it calls into question why and what’s the driver for that.”

“The issue is the incentives that are created in the system to steer people into these things,” AFR policy director Marcus Stanley said in a phone interview. “These just seem like the wrong incentives for brokers to have when giving advice to people.”