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Fitch: European Mutual Fund Board Independence Lags Behind US
April 24, 2017 / 8:49 AM / 3 months ago

Fitch: European Mutual Fund Board Independence Lags Behind US

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(The following statement was released by the rating agency) Link to Fitch Ratings' Report: European Mutual Fund Governance here LONDON, April 24 (Fitch) European mutual fund boards have significantly fewer independent directors than their US counterparts, according to Fitch Ratings' analysis. Regulatory reforms mean boards are becoming increasingly involved in funds' decision making, but a lack of independence may make European fund boards less likely to challenge management. Looking at a sample of 854 European fund directors from 145 sub-funds across all major asset classes, we found 33% were independent, meaning they had no direct, current link to the fund's sponsor, custodian or administrator. Our analysis, which mainly focussed on Ireland- and Luxembourg-domiciled UCITS funds also found that almost a quarter of the funds had no independent directors at all. The rules for designating a director as independent vary between European countries. But overall the requirements are weaker than in the US, where a minimum of 40% of directors must be independent and in practice, around 75% actually are independent. The proportion of independent directors on European fund boards is also well below the 61% on FTSE 250 boards and the 84% on S&P500 boards. Fund boards are required to put the interests of investors above those of the asset manager. Their limited independence may therefore become more of a risk as the role of European fund boards grows. For example, under recently-agreed European money market fund reforms, boards will play a key role in determining whether liquidity fees or redemptions gates should be applied. Fund boards were also required to approve the decision by several UK commercial real estate funds to prevent or limit redemptions in the wake of the Brexit vote. Our research also shows that gender diversity on European fund boards is low, with women accounting for just 11% of board positions. Board diversity is broadly recognised as promoting robust decision-making and the representation of women on fund boards is lower than for the broader financial sector, and for members of the MSCI World Index. For more information on our analysis of fund board structures, see the report "European Mutual Fund Governance" published today and available from www.fitchratings.com or by clicking the link above. Contact: Li Huang Associate Director Fund and Asset Managers +86 21 5097 3018 Fitch Ratings (Beijing) Limited 3401, 34/F, Shanghai Tower No.479, Lujiazuihuan Road 200120 Shanghai China Alastair Sewell Senior Director Fund and Asset Managers +44 20 3530 1147 Simon Kennedy Senior Analyst Fitch Wire +44 20 3530 1387 The above article originally appeared as a post on the Fitch Wire credit market commentary page. The original article can be accessed at www.fitchratings.com. All opinions expressed are those of Fitch Ratings. Media Relations: Peter Fitzpatrick, London, Tel: +44 20 3530 1103, Email: peter.fitzpatrick@fitchratings.com. Additional information is available on www.fitchratings.com ALL FITCH CREDIT RATINGS ARE SUBJECT TO CERTAIN LIMITATIONS AND DISCLAIMERS. PLEASE READ THESE LIMITATIONS AND DISCLAIMERS BY FOLLOWING THIS LINK: here. IN ADDITION, RATING DEFINITIONS AND THE TERMS OF USE OF SUCH RATINGS ARE AVAILABLE ON THE AGENCY'S PUBLIC WEB SITE AT WWW.FITCHRATINGS.COM. PUBLISHED RATINGS, CRITERIA, AND METHODOLOGIES ARE AVAILABLE FROM THIS SITE AT ALL TIMES. FITCH'S CODE OF CONDUCT, CONFIDENTIALITY, CONFLICTS OF INTEREST, AFFILIATE FIREWALL, COMPLIANCE, AND OTHER RELEVANT POLICIES AND PROCEDURES ARE ALSO AVAILABLE FROM THE CODE OF CONDUCT SECTION OF THIS SITE. DIRECTORS AND SHAREHOLDERS RELEVANT INTERESTS ARE AVAILABLE here. FITCH MAY HAVE PROVIDED ANOTHER PERMISSIBLE SERVICE TO THE RATED ENTITY OR ITS RELATED THIRD PARTIES. DETAILS OF THIS SERVICE FOR RATINGS FOR WHICH THE LEAD ANALYST IS BASED IN AN EU-REGISTERED ENTITY CAN BE FOUND ON THE ENTITY SUMMARY PAGE FOR THIS ISSUER ON THE FITCH WEBSITE. Copyright © 2017 by Fitch Ratings, Inc., Fitch Ratings Ltd. and its subsidiaries. 33 Whitehall Street, NY, NY 10004. Telephone: 1-800-753-4824, (212) 908-0500. Fax: (212) 480-4435. Reproduction or retransmission in whole or in part is prohibited except by permission. All rights reserved. In issuing and maintaining its ratings and in making other reports (including forecast information), Fitch relies on factual information it receives from issuers and underwriters and from other sources Fitch believes to be credible. 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Users of Fitch’s ratings and reports should understand that neither an enhanced factual investigation nor any third-party verification can ensure that all of the information Fitch relies on in connection with a rating or a report will be accurate and complete. Ultimately, the issuer and its advisers are responsible for the accuracy of the information they provide to Fitch and to the market in offering documents and other reports. In issuing its ratings and its reports, Fitch must rely on the work of experts, including independent auditors with respect to financial statements and attorneys with respect to legal and tax matters. Further, ratings and forecasts of financial and other information are inherently forward-looking and embody assumptions and predictions about future events that by their nature cannot be verified as facts. As a result, despite any verification of current facts, ratings and forecasts can be affected by future events or conditions that were not anticipated at the time a rating or forecast was issued or affirmed. The information in this report is provided “as is” without any representation or warranty of any kind, and Fitch does not represent or warrant that the report or any of its contents will meet any of the requirements of a recipient of the report. A Fitch rating is an opinion as to the creditworthiness of a security. This opinion and reports made by Fitch are based on established criteria and methodologies that Fitch is continuously evaluating and updating. Therefore, ratings and reports are the collective work product of Fitch and no individual, or group of individuals, is solely responsible for a rating or a report. The rating does not address the risk of loss due to risks other than credit risk, unless such risk is specifically mentioned. 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Due to the relative efficiency of electronic publishing and distribution, Fitch research may be available to electronic subscribers up to three days earlier than to print subscribers. For Australia, New Zealand, Taiwan and South Korea only: Fitch Australia Pty Ltd holds an Australian financial services license (AFS license no. 337123) which authorizes it to provide credit ratings to wholesale clients only. Credit ratings information published by Fitch is not intended to be used by persons who are retail clients within the meaning of the Corporations Act 2001

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