From the Editor...
Well, we're through the conference season and nearly to summer. Last week was the Investment Company Institute's annual General Membership Meeting in Washington, D.C., which also incorporates the Independent Directors Council's Fund Directors Workshop. As usual, there was no shortage of A-list speakers and timely issues being discussed.
Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg was a highlight at the start of the Wednesday-through-Friday event. In a Q&A session with ICI President and CEO Paul Schott Stevens, Bloomberg talked about everything from his childhood to the launching of Bloomberg L.P. to managing people (he gives complex projects to the most overworked person in the company at any given time) to how the economy has changed over time to why big banks need defending ("We need big banks to finance our future.") to right-wing commentators ("Those guys are idiots.") to climate change to Scouting to good books he's read lately ("Catastrophe 1914: Europe Goes to War" by Max Hastings). It was engaging and entertaining.
Additional highlights included panels on the future of the industry, a Tyler Mathisen-moderated discussion with OppenheimerFunds' Krishna Memani and Charles Schwab's Liz Ann Sonders, the luncheon address from author Walter Isaacson, SEC Chair Mary Jo White's Friday morning regulatory address, and insights into the U.S. elections offered by Charlie Cook and Stuart Rothenberg. Those attending the IDC workshop participated in an interactive session on board priorities, examined performance analysis methodologies and trends, discussed liquidity, and explored risk management and oversight.
As with many of these events, much of the value was derived on the sidelines. We certainly enjoyed seeing so many people in person and hearing feedback on Fund Board Views and the industry in general. Additional highlights can be found on Twitter—just search #ICIGMM.
And while we took a few days off to attend the GMM, we've also worked to keep readers informed about the goings on in the market. Boards have been busy as always. Eaton Vance Funds is preparing for a change in leadership as Ralph Verni steps down as independent chair on June 30 and William Park takes the helm on July 1. Verni will remain on the board for another year, through to his retirement on July 1, 2017, and remains active in industry initiatives. Meanwhile, series trust sponsor U.S. Bancorp Fund Services looks to be setting up another series trust with funds from Roxbury Capital Management.
On the legal front, closing arguments in the Sivolella v. AXA Equitable Life Insurance Co. 36(b) case were moved from this week to next. This phase of the trial is set to get started next Wednesday, June 1.
In addition to reading the latest fund governance news, be sure to check out all the features on our website. We've posted a few items in Added Perspective recently, including a piece written by OppenheimerFunds (NY) independent director Matt Fink and Kramer Levin's Jacqueline Edwards on the changing role of independent fund directors and a piece on director recruitment by George Wilbanks.
And, we've added one more member to our Editorial Think Tank: Tom Seip, independent chairman of Neuberger Berman Funds. We're excited to have him aboard and looking forward to working with all the folks we've assembled.
Here's hoping for good weather and good times for this Memorial Day holiday weekend, the unofficial start of summer but also (and perhaps more importantly) an opportunity to reflect on the ultimate sacrifice made by so many in our armed forces.
Hillary Jackson, founding editor, Fund Board Views