Duties of the Independent Director in Open-End Mutual Funds

This Comment will analyze the role of independent directors in open-end mutual funds. It will consider the potential impact of recent decisions and statutory amendments and explore the possibilities of a more significant role for such directors. The discussion will focus on the following aspects of the directors’ role: (1) the duty to review contractual arrangements between the fund and the external adviser; (2) the duty to serve as a “watchdog” over fund policy, brokerage allocation on portfolio transactions, and miscellaneous fund operations; and (3) the responsibilities upon the sale or merger of the investment adviser. In order to appreciate the role intended for the independent director by Congress and the role he has actually come to play, the nature of the mutual fund industry must first be briefly reviewed.