From the Editor...
One of the things we love to do here at Fund Board Views is interview mutual fund board chairs. The articles that result are informative, personal, and fun to write (and read, we hope). The latest in this A Seat at the Table series is an interview with Theresa Hamacher, independent chair of Morningstar Funds. Hamacher is well known throughout the industry from her time at NICSA and in her previous roles at a couple of large fund companies. Until now, though, the market hasn't heard much from her as the chair of Morningstar Funds, which launched last year and whose board just turned 1. We spoke to her last week about recruitment and all of the decisions that had to be made to get the Morningstar Funds board up and running. It's a fascinating look at what it takes to establish a fund governance body in these times.
Another board that doesn't make it into the news much is the one overseeing Dimensional Funds. That board recently enlarged its ranks by adding two independent directors. Both hail from the academic community, as does every other member of the board, in keeping with Dimensional Fund Advisors' academic focus. The board now includes eight independents and one interested chairman, DFA Co-Founder David Booth.
Do you have a dedicated email address and/or electronic device for board work? Some industry lawyers say that independent directors should do just that. This topic was briefly discussed at the ICI's Mutual Funds and Investment Management Conference last month in San Diego, and we've followed up with a more in-depth look at how industry lawyers feel about it and why.
In other news, Blackstone has applied for exemption for its fund board from in-person meetings to approve or make changes to sub-advisory contracts in certain circumstances. Industry participants say approval from the Securities and Exchange Commission would be significant for Blackstone and other boards overseeing similar multi-manager structures. Meanwhile, the SEC has updated the FAQs it published on liquidity risk management programs to address planned extended closures of markets around the world and stated that funds do no have to notify the regulator if investments become illiquid during such events. The issue originally arose earlier this year following Chinese New Year closures.
Hillary Jackson, founding editor