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Columnist Doyle should be held accountable, too

If securities sales people are held to high standards regarding investment advice, then it seems to me that investment columnists should be held to those same high standards.

In his Feb. 14 column in Monday Business, William Doyle, as with many of his writings, makes some inaccurate and misleading statements for which he should be held accountable. A securities sales representative doing the same would probably lose his license.

In his advice to a 75-year-old retiree who apparently invested in a back-loaded mutual fund, Doyle says: "that salesman put you into something unsuitable for you." However, in the next sentence he states that he could not tell for sure where the writer invested. Upon what, then, did he base his assessment that the investment was unsuitable for this particular investor? Is the letter writer too old to invest? Doyle is equally absurd in commenting, "It's ridiculous to steer someone your age into an investment with a penalty stretching out for five years." (Penalty is his antagonistic term for sales charge.) Does he suggest that all 75-year-old investors not invest in mutual funds because they have a sales charge? What about an experienced 75-year-old millionaire?

Perhaps Doyle is simply against funds with sales charges and in favor of so-called no-load funds. If that is true, then maybe he will tell his readers how no-load funds pay salaries, advertising and other expenses if the money does not come from investors. No-load is not synonymous with free, as Doyle would have his readers believe.

C'mon, Mr. Editor, how about a little self-control here? Doyle constantly slams honest securities sales people for charging a sales charge and earning a commission.

There are a lot of decent sales people out there who are concerned with their clients' well-being and are certainly more honorable than someone who writes half-truths designed to upset and confuse readers _ readers who accept his word as gospel because they don't know any better.

Reagh Neily, Dunedin