Now that the SEC has gotten the hang of fair fund distributions, it to be stepping up the pace. The commission on Monday announced a $37-million distribution to more than 300,000 investors harmed by fraudulent market timing in the Columbia Funds between 1998 and 2003. The distribution marks the first in a series of disbursements from the Fair Fund that will distribute a total of about $140 million to more than 600,000 affected Columbia Funds investors.
The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced a $37 million Fair Fund distribution to more than 300,000 investors who were harmed by fraudulent mutual fund market timing in the Columbia Funds between 1998 and 2003.
The distribution is the first in a series of disbursements from the Fair Fund that will distribute a total of approximately $140 million to more than 600,000 affected Columbia Funds account holders. The Fair Fund resulted from a Commission enforcement action charging unlawful conduct by Columbia Management Advisors, Inc. (the adviser to the Columbia Funds) and by Columbia Funds Distributor, Inc. (the Fund’s underwriter and distributor) by entering or allowing arrangements for undisclosed market timing in the Funds.
“The Commission has now returned more than $1.8 billion to injured investors through Fair Fund distributions in multiple cases,” said Linda Chatman Thomsen, Director of the Division of Enforcement. “This first distribution from the Columbia Fair Fund marks another significant step in our continuing efforts to distribute fair funds to mutual fund investors.”
“We are very pleased to begin this distribution to Columbia Funds investors who were injured by market timing,” said David Bergers, Director of the Commission’s Boston Regional Office, which handled the Columbia matter. “The Columbia Fair Fund allows us to use financial penalties and disgorgement from wrongdoers to return money to harmed investors.”
In 2005, the Commission brought and settled public administrative and cease-and-desist proceedings against Columbia Management Advisors and Columbia Funds Distributor, which consented to a Commission Order charging anti-fraud violations without admitting or denying the Commission’s findings. The Commission ordered the Columbia respondents to jointly pay $70 million in disgorgement and $70 million in penalties for distribution through the Fair Fund.
The Commission anticipates that approximately four additional distributions from the Fair Fund will be made to Columbia Funds account holders to complete the distribution process.
Investors can obtain additional information about the distribution process, including a copy of the Distribution Plan, by visiting http://www.columbiafairfund.com or by calling the Administrator of the Distribution Plan at (800) 410-5361.
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