Compensating Power: An Analysis of Rents and Rewards in the Mutual Fund Industry
William A. Birdthistle
Illinois Institute of Technology - Chicago-Kent College of Law
Tulane Law Review, Vol. 80, pp. 1401-1465, 2006
The allegations of malfeasance in the investment management industry - market timing, late trading, revenue sharing, and several others - involve a broad range of mutual fund operations. This Article seeks to explain the common source of these irregularities by focusing upon a trait they share: the practice of investment advisers' capitalizing upon their managerial influence to increase assets under management in order to generate greater fees from those assets.
This Article extends theories of executive compensation into the context of investment management to understand the extraction of rents by mutual fund advisers. Investment advisers, as collective groups of portfolio managers, interact with the boards of trustees of mutual funds in ways analogous to the dealings of business executives with corporate boards of directors. In this setting, the managerial power hypothesis of executive compensation provides a useful paradigm for understanding distortions in arm's-length bargaining between investment advisers and fund boards, as well as limitations of the market's ability to ensure optimal contracting between those parties.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 65
Keywords: mutual fund, investment adviser, investment management, executive compensation, optimal contracting, managerial power, Bebchuk, fund, corporate governance, board of trustees, board
JEL Classification: A10, G30, G20, G34Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: April 18, 2007 ; Last revised: October 13, 2008
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