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Monday, April 04, 2005

Skin in the Game Matters for Fund Directors

Reported by Sean Hanna, Editor in Chief

A study that looks at whether board structure effects fund performance hit the radar screen of personal fund columnist Chuck Jaffe over the weekend. The study -- Does Skin in the Game Matter -- was authored by four college professors and claims to show that funds in which the directors are also shareholders outperform those in which they are not.

Jaffe says that the fund industry also claims that the study shows that there is little difference between the performance of funds run by independent directors and insider directors.

The study found that the risk-adjusted performance of funds in which directors held shares topped those in which they did not by as much as 4 percent annually. Whether the director invested in a fund on which he or she was a trustee or just another fund in the same complex did not appear to make a difference.

That performance gain held whether or not the director who held the shares was independent or an insider.

"One thing that comes out quite strongly is that non-independent directors - the guys affiliated with the management company - can have a really strong, positive effect on performance, so long as their interests are aligned with shareholders," study author David Weinbaum told Jaffe. "But we found that all directors can have a positive impact; they tend to have the biggest impact when they are shareholders themselves." 

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