From the Editor...
We're now two-thirds of the way through the first quarter, so many mutual fund boards already have wrapped up their first quarterly meetings of 2017. For some, it'll have been the first time new members have sat around the board table as they fill seats vacated by directors who retired at year-end. That's certainly the case at JPMorgan Funds, which has added both a new independent director and an advisory board member this year, and at iShares Trust, which has welcomed former New York Life Investment Management CEO Drew Lawton as an advisory board member.
New directors typically have a steep learning curve with which to contend when becoming familiar with the fund family they're overseeing, but there also are numerous industry issues they must stay abreast of as they go about fulfilling their fiduciary duty. Mutual Fund Directors Forum, in it ongoing effort to educate directors, has a published a piece on directors' responsibilities with regard to risk management oversight—a topic much discussed last year that will continue going forward. Strategic Insight founder Avi Nachmany also has published a useful piece on recent developments in mutual fund share classes, and lawyers at Schiff Hardin tackled the subject of attorney-client privilege in the boardroom in a recent webinar.
In the courts, a New York judge has dismissed a derivative suit filed against Sequoia Fund, its adviser, and most of its board of directors. The charges include breach of fiduciary duty and gross negligence and stem from Sequoia Fund's investment in Valeant Pharmaceuticals International, which went south in 2015 when the company's drug pricing and distribution strategies came under intense scrutiny.
We're looking forward to seeing many of you in a couple of weeks in Palm Desert at the ICI Mutual Funds and Investment Management Conference. Let us know if you're going to be there.
Hillary Jackson, founding editor, Fund Board Views