From the Editor...
We've entered the fourth quarter, the final stretch of 2016. And it looks to be a busier-than-usual three months—in fund boardrooms, in the courts, in the markets, in the regulatory realm, and, of course, in the political arena.
Mutual fund boards overseeing money market funds will be especially tuned in next week when the final conversion date occurs, marking the full implementation of the Securities and Exchange Commission's 2014 money fund reforms. With most of the preparation done, attention will be focused on the "what next" once Oct. 14 comes and goes, and those boards' fourth-quarter meeting agendas are sure to carve out time to discuss.
Many in the market expect the SEC to publish final rules on modernization and liquidity this month, though that—like all things SEC—is a wait-and-see scenario. If not in October, surely soon thereafter given Chair Mary Jo White's expected departure following the presidential election. Speaking of, there's that. There are just 35 days left until the big vote on Nov. 8, and the nation decides between Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump. Market watchers are warning of some fallout if the latter is elected, so boards may want to start thinking about—and talking to advisers about—how the funds they oversee might be affected.
In the courts, eyes will be on a Camden, N.J., courtroom when the Kasilag v. Hartford excessive fees case begins Dec. 12. Some in the industry are predicting that a much-anticipated victory for the defendant in that case will quell the current wave of cases alleging violations under Section 36(b) of the '40 Act.
With all this—and more—going on, it's not surprising that independent mutual fund directors are earning more than ever. According to the latest data from Independent Directors Council, the average compensation for directors is above $200,000 a year and comp for the group was up on average about 5% in 2015 from the year prior. Data released last week by Deloitte highlights director practices and shows that the way boards are receiving information around fair valuation continues to change. The use of dashboards and key valuation indicators has really jumped in the last several years, and the report's authors believe it will continue to grow as the technology continues to advance.
We're following all these developments and more, and as we enter our second year of publication, we're excited to continue bringing you news and information you need and want. Please reach out with ideas, questions, suggestions, constructive criticisms, and whatever other feedback you may have. We'd love to hear from you.
Hillary Jackson, founding editor, Fund Board Views