From the Editor...
Some two dozen lawsuits have been brought against mutual fund firms in the past seven years carrying charges that the fees shareholders are paying are excessive. Many of those cases have started moving far enough through the court system that there have been resolutions, and the industry—in a general sense—has been pleased with those outcomes. Two cases—Sivolella v. AXA Equitable Life Insurance Co. and Kasilag v. Hartford—have gone to trial and ended in wins for the defendants, while several other cases have been either dismissed or settled in recent months. This month, judges in Delaware and Iowa dismissed cases against Voya Financial and Principal Management Corp. There remain several cases still in process, and we're keeping an eye on developments.
We hear all the time that independent fund directors love to speak with and hear from their peers, and our A Seat at the Table feature aims to tap into that peer-to-peer dialogue by examining a specific board and its unique, but often universal, challenges. This month, we spoke with James Seward, independent chairman of RBC Funds about how his board was involved with the process of lowering fees on a number of the adviser's funds and other issues with which it deals. It's a good read.
Elsewhere in boardrooms, Fidelity Investments' fund directors are planning to combine two of the three boards overseeing the Boston firm's equity funds, and Franklin Templeton Investments' fund directors are adding a new independent to two of its boards. Earlier this month, we compiled a list of 10 Things...Boards should consider when onboarding, which we hope will aide directors dealing with recruitment issues.
And don't forget to read our most recent Viewpoints, an op-ed piece on Brexit authored by Gerald Malone, independent chair of Aberdeen Funds.
Hillary Jackson, founding editor