All of the living former SEC chairmen sent a message, loud and clear, to current chair William Donaldson
on Tuesday: do not drop the independent director issue.
The one-page letter was brief and to the point: "[a]n independent mutual fund board chairman would provide necessary support and direction for independent fund directors in fulfilling their duties by setting the board's agenda, controlling the conduct of meetings, and enhancing meaningful dialogue with the adviser."
They continued,"[w]e believe an independent board chairman would be better able to create conditions favoring the long-term interests of fund shareholders than would a chairman who is an executive of the adviser."
| Seven, Taking A Stand |
| Former Chairmen || Term || Party || President |
| Harvey L. Pitt || 2001-2003 || R || Bush |
| Arthur Levitt || 1993-2001 || D || Clinton |
| Richard C. Breeden || 1989-1993 || R || Bush Sr. |
| David S. Ruder || 1987-1989 || R || Reagan |
| Harold M. Williams || 1977-1981 || D || Carter |
| Roderick M. Hills || 1975-1977 || R || Ford |
| G. Bradford Cook || 1973 || R || Nixon |
| Source: SEC website |
While former chairman David Ruder's
signature was the only one on the letter, it was on behalf of all in the letter
Ruder is currently a law professor at Northwestern University and heads a independent directors group called the Mutual Fund Directors Forum. Ruder also wrote a May 14 comment
in support of the independent director proposal on behalf of the MFDF, co-signed by Allan S. Mostoff, president and treasurer of organization. Mostoff said that the organization would release a "best practices" study on mutual funds by the end of June.
The ex-SEC chairmen have been busy: earlier this month, five of the former chairmen gathered for a roundtable
at the SEC Historical Society to discuss the agency's history and mutual funds.
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