Over the past few years, one of the fastest-growing segments of the registered mutual fund industry has been in the alternatives space, with "alternatives" being something of a catch-all term for funds focusing on non-traditional asset classes or strategies that had previously been the domain of institutional investors and hedge funds. The number of these funds has skyrocketed, driven in large part by strong demand from retail investors and advisors for investment strategies that offer less correlation to the broad equity and bond markets.

As new offerings have made their way to the broader marketplace, many have begun to gather significant assets, posing a new challenge for mutual fund boards and their independent directors. At its most basic level, the question is this: does a director who oversees an alternative strategy fund have different responsibilities than those of a director who oversees a more traditional fund?

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