If the commissioners of the Securities and Exchange Commission need proof that the independent chairman rule effects positive change at funds, the independent director of the funds at AIM Investments could attest that it does, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Since the arrival of independent director Bruce Crockett in late 2004, the board has challenged management on more than one occasion, most notably succeeding in forcing it to lower the fees on funds with poor returns. That decision returns $20 million a year to investors' pockets.

A secondary issue of having the company lower the transfer agent fees it charges investors for processing their accounts is still pending, however.

Since the arrival of Crockett, says AIM independent trustee Albert Dowden, "We have more authority and more responsibility. There was a feeling we were now in charge, and we damn well better do the right job."

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