The growing calls for board independence are being heard at First Eagle Funds
. The $12.5 billion fund unit advised by Arnhold and S. Bleichroeder Advisers, LLC, said Thursday that it will have an independent chairperson starting at the end of the month. Separately, the fund group also announced the closing of one of its funds.
The new independent chairperson is Candace K. Beinecke
. She is already well familiar with the funds, having held a board seat on the First Eagle funds since 1996. She holds seats on the board of ALSTOM, a Paris-based firm listed on the New York Stock Exchange and Hughes, Hubbard & Reed, LLP, a Wall Street law firm where she is a partner.
In her corporate practice at Hughes, Hubbard & Reed, Beinecke represents businesses in the United States and abroad on transactional and governance matters.
"Arnhold and S. Bleichroeder Advisers has always been at the forefront of enhancing shareholder value and encouraging proper fund governance," said John P. Arnhold
, chairman and CEO of Arnhold and S. Bleichroeder Advisers. "We welcome this opportunity as another major step in that direction."
Arnhold also said that the firm the First Eagle Overseas fund, one of four mutual funds it offers along with its Global, U.S. Value, Gold, and the Fund of America funds.
The $5.3 billion fund will close to new investors as of Friday, January 30th, 2004.
Co-portfolio manager Jean-Marie Eveillard said that the fund is being closed while he and co-portfolio manager Charles de Vaulx find ways to invest recent inflows.
"In recent months, inflows into our funds have continued to accelerate, especially in the Overseas Fund, where cash now exceeds 25 percent of assets," he explained. "While we have never thought that we should be fully invested at all times, currently equity markets around the world are high. Therefore, we temporarily have few investment opportunities. So, Charles and I came to the conclusion that closing the Overseas Fund may be in the best interest of the Fund's shareholders."
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