Do Governance Mechanisms Matter for Mutual Funds?
Florida International University
Lilian K. Ng
York University - Schulich School of Business
University of Central Florida - College of Business Administration
The paper finds evidence that corporate governance mechanisms matter for mutual funds, especially funds with better governance standards. Using new and unexplored mutual fund governance data, we show that corporate governance mechanisms play a role in both the investment decisions and the monitoring efforts of mutual funds. Mutual funds, in general, tend to tilt their portfolios toward firms with strong corporate governance, and this is more evident in funds with good governance practices. We further find that corporate governance also affects fund proxy voting decisions. Such voting decisions are indicative of the funds' efforts aimed at monitoring corporate activities supporting mutual fund activism. Funds with better governance tend to vote against management's, but consistent with Institutional Shareholder Services' negative recommendations on management-sponsored proposals relating to antitakeover, board quality, and director election. Overall, our evidence suggests that well-governed, while not poorly-governed, mutual funds do perform their fiduciary duties and act in the interests of their shareholders.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 40
Keywords: proxy voting, Morningstar stewardship grade, mutual funds, governance mechanisms
JEL Classification: G11, G23, G34
Date posted: March 20, 2007