If it finalizes Proposed Rule 30e-3, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is in danger of failing in one of its statutory responsibilities: investor protection. This rule would allow Wall Street mutual funds to take away critical printed fund performance reports, without customer consent. Main Street investors rely on this information to make informed investing decisions.

Under Proposed Rule 30e-3, mutual funds could send investors letters announcing they would lose their paper statements unless they returned a form objecting to this change. Once changed, investors would need to go online in order to see these reports or regain the paper ones.


It’s not hard to see how this would go terribly wrong. Letters and responses can easily get lost in the mail or be accidently discarded. Additionally, these forms can be confusing, making it much more likely for our seniors to fill it out incorrectly, or not at all. Investors without Internet access would find it difficult, or impossible, to regain their paper reports, leaving their statements on an inaccessible island. The SEC actually cited this as a potential problem in its request for comment.

This change would be hardest felt by rural Americans, the poor and the elderly, who disproportionally lack Internet access. The Pew Research Center estimates that 41 percent of seniors do not use the Internet, 43 percent of African-American households lack Internet access, and 44 percent of Hispanic Americans lack broadband access. According to the Investment Company Fact Book, 34 percent of seniors own mutual fund assets.

I can only imagine my 90-year-old mother being told the only way she would get access to her mutual fund performance reports is by turning on a computer she does not own, logging onto an Internet she does not understand, because she never returned a form she didn’t receive in the first place. This is not right, and it is not fair. This does nothing to protect her assets, and would give her needless anguish.  I represent one of the oldest and most rural districts in the country. This concerns me greatly.

The SEC rule also goes against the will of the American people. Study after study shows that Americans prefer paper delivery for important information. Two Sides found in a recent national survey that 88 percent of respondents better understand, retain, and use information when it is printed on paper.  Furthermore, given a choice, 81 percent preferred paper.

The SEC’s own study, conducted by Siegel + Gale in 2012, found that 71 percent of American investors prefer paper reports to online forms, and many respondents also emphasized that they better comprehend printed materials than online ones.

Hundreds of Americans, including members of Congress, business representatives, and concerned individuals from across the country, participated in the SEC’s comment period.  An overwhelming number—around 98 percent—expressed opposition.

The views of the American people are clear.  It is now up to members of Congress to make their constituents’ voices heard. As the representative of both one of the oldest and one of the most rural districts in the country, I know how badly this rule would affect my constituents in Maine. This will affect, to some degree, every corner of every congressional district in America.

On January 7, Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) and I led a letter to the SEC to ask them to rescind this rule. I ask all of my colleagues to join me in ensuring that the SEC listens to the American people and reconsiders this harmful rule.

Poliquin has represented Maine’s 2nd Congressional District since 2015. He sits on the Financial Services Committee.