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Investors Should Wait for More Details From Fund P

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Oct. 27, 2003 — In response to New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer’s ongoing investigation of market-timing and questionable trading practices at certain mutual fund companies, Standard & Poor’s is cautioning investors to wait for further information before taking any action.

In a statement issued Monday, Phil Edwards, managing director for Standard & Poor’s fund research, noted that “much still remains to be learned about the breadth and depth of this investigation,” and that we may, for example, “learn more about any role played by intermediaries and distribution channels.”

While giving advantage one set of investors over another is wrong and should not be excused, Standard & Poor’s also said changes in the industry are already being widely discussed, and that it strongly believes management of the fund sponsors must lead these changes. Only by demonstrating rapid and decisive leadership will fund sponsors restore the public’s confidence in their products and services.

Edwards cited some early encouraging signs, including statements from the president of BANK ONE Corp (ONE), sponsor of the One Group of funds, which outlined specific steps being taken to remedy the situation.

Standard & Poor’s believes that each fund should be judged on its own merits and circumstances, and that more information needs to be made available before coming to conclusions on any specific family or fund.

Standard & Poor’s will continue to closely follow the actions taken by fund sponsor’s management and factor this into its decision making.