An unusual fight pitting two groups of fund directors against each other is providing the SEC with its first public test of the agency's campaign to strengthen the role of independent fund directors.

Four independent directors of the closed-end Austria Fund have filed a complaint with the SEC contending that the fund's adviser, Alliance Capital Management LP of New York, and the fund's directors, may have violated the key federal securities law that governs the operations of mutual funds and closed-end funds.

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