WASHINGTON -- Some 700 national banks have submitted their mutual fund sales materials to a review by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, a top agency official said.
David Apgar, senior policy adviser to Comptroller Eugene A. Ludwig, said the agency was still sifting through the information it has culled. He said, however, that some clarifications to its mutual fund sales and disclosure rules may result from the review.
The banks - more than three-quarters of the 900 national banks - were responding to an invitation issued by the OCC in May.
Two Focal Points
Two conclusions stand out in the review so far, Mr. Apgar said in an interview.
First, the agency needs to clarify what constitutes "prominent disclosure" that investment products lack federal deposit insurance. "There are thousands of interpretations of what is conspicuous and we want to get that down in One interpretation," Mr. Apgar said.
Second, the literature used by banks to market fixed annuities is confusing and does not comply with the agency's standards, he said.
On a separate matter, Mr. Apgar said the OCC was forging ahead with plans to deploy mystery shoppers to monitor banks' mutual fund sales practices.
Mr. Apgar said the OCC may join forces with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., which has solicited bids from professional testing groups to conduct such a program. The agencies would share costs and would jointly review testing scripts and evaluations.
Alternatively, the OCC may choose to send in professional testers to national banks on its own, Mr. Apgar said.
A third federal bank regulatory agency, the Federal Reserve Board, has said it will not participate in the mystery shopping program.