From the Editor...

March 20, 2017

By Hillary Jackson

From the Editor...

 

It was great to mingle with and hear from so many mutual fund industry professionals last week in Palm Desert, Calif. The sessions and discussions at the ICI's 2017 Mutual Funds and Investment Management Conference took place in both formal and informal settings and covered a variety of topics—from President Trump's agenda and impact on the industry to the fate of fund litigation in the 36(b) and ERISA spaces to regulatory initiatives and fund governance. A pretty constant theme throughout was independent fund directors' responsibilities, and there seemed to be a consensus that a review may be in order. We'll be watching this space pretty closely as we move forward.

 

Somewhat out of the norm was the compelling nature of the very last session of the three-day conference, in which a panel of fund professionals debated where the industry should focus this year. Some topics garnered total agreement, while others prompted varying views. We'll know next year whether predictions were correct—and we're looking forward to revisiting these topics next year in San Antonio, Texas.

 

Before heading out to California, FBV gave a nod to fund boards chaired by women in acknowledgement of International Women's Day. The list of 10 is not complete, but it is encouraging and worth noting. We also took a look at Norm Champ's new book on his time at the Securities and Exchange Commission. The former Division of Investment Management director talks about his challenging transition from the private sector to the government regulator, discusses the initiatives with which he was involved while at the SEC—including money market fund reforms—and gives a glimpse into his own personal life story along the way. 

 

Meanwhile, in late February the industry celebrated another victory in the ongoing battle of excessive fees cases filed under Section 36(b) of the '40 Act when Hartford won its case. And while the fight hasn't quite ended, recent victories and other developments are supporting growing optimism that the approach taken in recent years to suing fund advisers may yet be abandoned. This is another area we're watching closely and reporting on regularly, so stay tuned.

 

For now,

 

Hillary Jackson, founding editor