From the Editor...
Mutual fund advisers and the independent directors who oversee their investment offerings are faced with a dilemma when entering a new market: Does the existing fund board take oversight of the new products, or should a new, separate board be assembled? As an increasing number of mutual fund firms enter the exchange-traded fund arena, this issue is one they're examining along with myriad other issues that arise during the process. Some—like Goldman Sachs Asset Management and JPMorgan Funds—have opted to launch a separate board to oversee ETFs, while others—including John Hancock Funds and Hartford Funds—simply added the new types of funds to the existing fund board's oversight responsibilities.
At American Century Investments right now, the decision was made to launch a separate board. That group of directors is being put together now, with the goal of being in place by year's end—ahead of the debut of the ETFs in 2018. Earlier this year, Wilmer Hale's Amy Doberman made the argument for a separate board, though it remains an uncommon practice as of yet. It's certainly something to watch going forward as traditional mutual fund advisers continue to diversify their offerings.
American Century also has been busy with its Kansas City board, which will have a new independent chairman as of Jan. 1. The sitting chair, at 75, is retiring in line with the board's policy. Generational shift continues to hit the nation's fund boards, and recruitment has become front and center for many as they face the prospect of vacated seats around the table. Those are among the issues that grabbed directors attention in 2017. Check out our latest 10 Things feature for what else has dominated boardroom discussions this year.
A couple of series trusts offered by ALPS Fund Services have moved to independent leadership recently, moving more in line with industry practice. The ALPS ETF Trust and the ALPS Variable Investment Trust boards named independent chairmen to take over for insider Thomas Carter after he resigned from ALPS Advisors in November.
There's usually a lot of movement in boardrooms toward the end of the year, and we're doing our best to stay on top of it. We're also looking forward to the freshness of a new year when we get back to work in January after the holiday break (ours will run from Dec. 18 through Jan. 1, when we won't publish). Hoping you and yours are enjoying the last days of 2017 as well.
Hillary Jackson, founding editor