Wall Street financial firms -- investment banks, banks, investment management firms, hedge funds -- have been fairly united in opposing and actively lobbying to weaken the new Consumer Financial Protection Board.
But at least one leader in the industry, John C. Bogle, founder and former chairman of The Vanguard Group, make the case not only for a strong CFPB, but for the aggressive prosecution and even jailing of some of the bankers he says were committing “an outrage to our society.”
In an interview with Morningstar Director of Personal Finance Christine Benz, Bogle said, “I am darned if I understand why people are sitting out there after what we've going through here with companies like Countrywide and those organizations, which just were making a huge living selling misleading mortgages to people that couldn't possibly afford them."
"It's quite an outrage to our society, and I'm outraged that CEOs keep all their money and nobody is going to jail," he added. "I mean, there should someone to put the guys in the clink, if you will.”
Bogle said investors “need consumer protection,” with the priority being better disclosure for credit cards, lower fees and better disclosure for mortgages.
But Bogle doesn’t exclude his own industry from the need for consumer protection adding, “We may need some in the mutual fund industry, too.”
Specifically he blasts mutual fund advertising, some of which he calls “over the top.” Bogle said funds should not be able to advertise only their best performing funds, while failing to mention the worst.
He told Benz, “Some companies are advertising that they have 12 funds with Morningstar ratings of four or five stars and they don’t have to mention that they have 44 one- and two-star funds.” He calls such promotion “disgraceful and misleading.”
Bogle blasts the fund management industry for lobbying against efforts to reform 12b-1 fees, saying that investors are being misled about supposedly no-load fees where fees to intermediaries are hidden from view.
“I think just as a matter of clear disclosure and avoiding kind of a false and misleading sale, we are better off without” 12b-1, he said. “I don’t see why if somebody wants some investment advice, they don’t just pay for it outright instead of having it wrapped up in something else.”
Explaining the opposition to any reform he says, “Nobody likes that because separate pricing is clear pricing.”