Bill on small accounts at mutual funds rejected


ANNAPOLIS -- Expressing concern "for the little man," members of the House of Delegates voted down yesterday legislation that would have allowed mutual fund companies to redeem the shares of any stockholder if the value of those shares is $500 or less.

The measure, sponsored by Delegate George H. Littrell Jr., D-Frederick, was intended to save mutual fund companies the expense of mailing prospectuses and notices of shareholder meetings and the cost of bookkeeping for such relatively small accounts.

But in a rare defeat for a bill sent to the floor by one of the House's six standing committees, the measure was defeated on a 89-32 vote.

Delegate John W. Douglass, D-Baltimore, asked incredulously why a company should unilaterally have the right to sell the stock of someone who may have purchased it for more than $500, only to see its value sink to less than $500.

Delegate Ethel A. Murray, D-Cecil, suggested that if such a bill were approved, banks would soon be asking to cash out small accounts because they are too much trouble to service.

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