Millstein Center to Convene First Roundtable of U.S. Mutual Fund Chairs
New Haven, Conn., January 14, 2008 – Independent chairs and lead independent directors of U.S. mutual funds will participate in the first roundtable on independent leadership of collective funds on January 22 at the Yale Club of New York City. The roundtable is the inaugural event of the “Independent Leadership of Mutual Fund Boards” project spearheaded by the Millstein Center for Corporate Governance and Performance at the Yale School of Management in partnership with the Mutual Fund Directors Forum; it is sponsored by Korn/Ferry and Ropes & Gray. The project chair is John Hill, chairman of Putnam Funds; the vice chair is Peter Clapman, chairman of the AARP mutual funds board.
“Independent Leadership of Mutual Fund Boards” is the first effort to examine independent leadership since the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission adopted regulation in 2004 requiring mutual fund boards to appoint an independent chairman. The regulation, which was designed to address conflicts of interest and abuses, is in limbo after court rejection; the SEC has promised to restore it. Since the regulation passed, more than 60% of U.S. mutual funds have acted to install independent chairs in anticipation of the rule becoming formalized.
“Prior to the SEC rule, few boards featured leadership separate from that of the fund family. There appears to be a strong appetite among market players — including the chairs themselves — to understand precisely what duties and responsibilities this relatively new role involves,” said Stephen Davis, project director of the Millstein Center. Davis heads the “Independent Leadership of Mutual Fund Boards” project with lead work conducted by the Center’s visiting research fellow Meagan Thompson-Mann, former corporate governance counsel at Railpen Investments.
Following the roundtable, the Millstein Center will produce a policy briefing paper outlining the challenges and models of independent leadership. The sponsors expect the project to evolve into a permanent caucus of independent mutual fund leaders, serving as a regular source of information and research, networking, policy exploration, and idea exchange.
For additional information about the “Independent Leadership of Mutual Fund Boards” project or to schedule an interview, please contact Stephen Davis, project director of the Millstein Center, at
203-432-8070 or Tabitha Wilde, director of media relations for the Yale School of Management, at 203-432-6010.