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SEC Reviewing Excessive Mutual Fund Fees

According to a recent Ignites article, the SEC is currently conducting a number of investigations regarding excessive mutual fund fees.  Although the SEC issued a "Cease and Desist" order in a case regarding subadvisory fees on November 16th, it is likely that the SEC is conducting additional investigations. According to the Ignites article, the agency is scrutinizing not only advisory fees, but also the fees of other service providers, such as the custodian and transfer agent.  At a recent Fund Director Intelligence-K&L Gates webinar (co-sponsored by the Washington DC Bar and Federal Bar Association), Robert Kaplan (co-chief of the SEC's asset management unit, a specialized team within the Division of Enforcement) stated that "fee issues for mutual funds are a priority for the unit" and mentioned that his team is currently using analytics to help examine potentially excessive fees.

It is important to note that Douglas Scheidt, chief counsel of the Division of Investment Management, stated at the same event that he believed any excessive-fee lawsuits against directors would involve an egregious situation where the Board's process for reviewing the fees was seriously flawed.  The November 16th "Cease and Desist" order did not include any charges against the Board.

The Ignites article can be found here (subscription required).