What Independent Directors Should 'Request' of Mutual Fund Advisers
John A. Haslem
University of Maryland - Robert H. Smith School of Business
October 7, 2010
Journal of Index Investing, Vol. 1, No. 2, pp. 50-55, Fall 2010
The background to this study is the failure of mutual fund independent directors to fulfill their obligations as “shareholder watchdogs,” as defined in the 40Act. What is needed is for fund independent directors to “request” fund advisers to provide “normative transparency of information” that will enable directors to advance the “primary interests” of fund shareholders.
U.S. District Judge Feess’s opinion in a mutual fund case of excessive fees provides a candid assessment of independent director performance. He supports the view that directors are likely to “go along” with mutual fund adviser plans and actions. This view suggests directors are unlikely to “request” normative information required to serve the “primary interests” of fund shareholders.
The judge’s opinion includes numerous revealing insights on the performance [poor] of independent directors. These revelations and other relevant issues in the opinion provide case-based support for independent directors to “request” fund advisers to provide normative transparency of information for their analysis.
To achieve normative transparency of information, independent directors and advisers of major funds known for shareholder stewardship must strongly, vigorously, and proactively work together to gain required Congressional and SEC approvals. The outlook is not bright, but the goal is worthy of the challenge.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 6
Keywords: independent directors, normative transparency of information, fund advisers, opinion, performance, stewardship
JEL Classification: G2, G23, G28Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: October 9, 2010 ; Last revised: October 1, 2012
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