From the Editor...
Happy New Year, Fund Board Views readers! Here's hoping 2021 is filled with good health and good times.
We've kicked off the year since returning on Jan. 4 with a look at outgoing Division of Investment Management Dalia Blass's time at the Securities and Exchange Commission, which fund governance professionals told us was filled with constructive conversation and numerous accomplishments. Blass departs the SEC this month, and her role will be filled temporarily by Sarah ten Siethoff, a long-serving associate director within DIM.
We've been following excessive fees litigation for years, and we are finally getting toward the end of that particular trend. The last pre-trial case, Zoidis v. T. Rowe Price Assoc., was dismissed in the waning days of 2020, leaving just one remaining case on appeal. Of the more than two dozen cases filed against mutual fund firms by the plaintiffs' bar, none has worked out in plaintiffs' favor, and the T. Rowe case resulted in no payouts to the plaintiffs. Going forward, most observers expect the plaintiffs' bar to find new ways to try to get at fund firms, and in our latest Viewpoints, Practus LLP's Ethan Corey looks at one potential avenue. It's an interesting read and food for thought, so don't skip it.
One topic that has made a lot of headlines lately is the conversion of open-end funds into exchange-traded funds. We've provided guidance for fund directors on this before, in a 2019 Viewpoints authored by Ropes & Gray's Brian McCabe and Teo Larsson-Sax, and we've broached the subject again in our latest 10 Things... list. There is a lot of great information in both pieces for boards to utilize in starting conversations with advisers and, if appropriate, working their way through the conversion process.
Speaking of Viewpoints, don't miss our annual ebook with the year's pieces. It's out, and it's a great resource. Let us know if there's a topic you'd like to write about, or read about, in 2021; we're always looking for authors and input.
On this day, I'll leave you with this, from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.:
"I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant."
Hillary Jackson, founding editor