Alliance Capital has named an independent chairman of the board of a number of its funds, an SEC filing Monday indicated.

The firm says it made the decision as a direct result of the ongoing investigations into market timing and late trading both by the SEC and New York State, as well as more than 20 lawsuits. The filing also indicates that it might appoint an independent chairman to sit on all of its boards.

John D. Carifa has been replaced as chairman of the board and president of the AllianceBernstein Mutual Funds by Marc O. Mayer, now president and director, and William H. Foulk, Jr., as chairman of the board.

While on the face value this sounds like an unusual move, roughly 20% of mutual funds already have independent chairmen of the boards, said Meyrick Payne, senior partner with Management Practice, Inc. "It’s not that unusual because in the old days, bank holding companies were not allowed to have directors who were outsiders – so there are about probably 20% of all mutual funds do have an independent chairman, and that is a residual of the bank days."

Ironically, Putnam and Nations Funds are two companies that already have independent chairman, according to Payne. Others include American Express Funds and JP Morgan Chase.

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