On Your Side
A Crusader for the Small Investor: Mercer Bullard / Oxford, Miss.
By George Mannes

(MONEY Magazine) – Mutual funds, says Mercer Bullard, are a remarkable confluence of money and society: With millions of people giving strangers cash to invest, he says, "it's the most stunning example of group trust that one could possibly imagine."

Sadly, sometimes that trust is abused: Funds can carry outsize expenses, for example, and directors can ignore shareholder priorities. So in 2000, a restless Bullard quit his job as staff attorney at the Securities and Exchange Commission and appointed himself advocate for mutual fund shareholders. Hey, why not? "I had my background and my knowledge and a lot of creativity and chutzpah," he says.

Bullard, now teaching law at Ole Miss, helped draft bills that prodded the SEC to reform fund governance; he continues to push a little-guy agenda, recently writing to the SEC to slam its interpretation of an investor protection rule. His advice to you? "The first thing you do when looking for a fund is eliminate all those that have above-average costs." Bullard records his work at funddemocracy.com.

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Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer LIBOR Warning: Neither BBA Enterprises Limited, nor the BBA LIBOR Contributor Banks, nor Reuters, can be held liable for any irregularity or inaccuracy of BBA LIBOR. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.