The so-called controversy over who the ICI
represents is continuing to foment, at least in the media, but is it with cause? The latest fuel to the fire is a Forbes
article that includes comments from Meyer Eisenberg
, acting director of the SEC's division of investment management, on the issue of the trade organization’s membership dues.
"The ICI's statements regarding its role as, essentially, the spokesman for fund managements raises issues that involve the allocation of ICI dues between fund management and their funds," Eisenberg told Forbes.
"Use of fund assets to pay ICI dues is a matter within the business judgment of fund directors. As with any significant expense, directors should carefully consider and weigh benefits received from using fund assets in this way," said Eisenberg.
Eisenberg’s comments were in reaction to a Reuters article that quoted an ICI executive as saying that the trade industry does not represent mutual fund investors.
While John Heine, spokesman for the SEC, declined to comment specifically on whether the SEC is conducting an investigation of the ICI, he did say that the “the Eisenberg quotes stand for themselves … that fund directors have a responsibility” to judge the issue.
In other words, Eisenberg places the issue of membership dues squarely with the fund directors.
Meanwhile, the ICI maintains that the news reports about the sudden shift in the ICI’s allegiance are not exactly true. “Nothing has changed at the ICI,” said Ed Giltenan, the newly appointed head of public relations for the ICI.
“Over the years, we have been a strong and consistent advocate for the fund industry and for shareholders,” said Giltenan.
“Our position, our mission has always been that the interest of shareholders must come first,” said Giltenan.“We believe that the interest of fund members and fund shareholders are very much aligned.”
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