From the Editor...
If mutual fund boards weren't already talking about ESG, they likely are now that the SEC has released a risk alert detailing its observations from recent examinations. The alert, along with the regulator's other efforts in the ESG space, can guide funds and their boards on where to focus attention, ask questions, and get more information, according to industry lawyers with whom we spoke. While the ESG learning curve will vary depending on the fund group, it's important for boards to ask management how their practices and policies line up with the concerns in the risk alert, one lawyer told us.
The fund world, as always, is full of acronyms and abbreviations. ESG is just one of them. Another one that has been commanding attention as of late is SPAC. And if you don't know that much about these investment vehicles yet, we've got a convenient list of 10 Things...boards should know about SPACs for you! It's easy to read and a great resource for boards and others in the fund business.
In other news, we've updated readers on a new addition to the Pioneer Funds board, a move that enlarges the number of independent directors around the table to eight. And in our latest Viewpoints, MFDF's Joanne Skerrett talks board self-assessments and how boards can get more out of the process. Not surprisingly given Skerrett's role at MFDF, this piece is chock full of practical advice on how to ask questions that yield useful—and actionable—information, work toward a more effective board, improve board accountability, and identify follow-up activities to keep the momentum going. Don't miss this Viewpoints.
Also, if you missed anything in March, the monthly PDF has been posted so you can review our coverage and catch up anything you didn't get to during the month.
Please reach out and let us know if there are topics you'd like to see covered in FBV. We love hearing from readers!
Hillary Jackson, founding editor