Mutual fund executives participating in a forum at the Investment Company Institute’s General Membership Meeting in Washington protested a proposal by the Security and Exchange Commission to seat independent chairmen on fund boards, Reuters reports.

Robert Dow, a managing partner at Lord Abbett & Co who is also chairman of the company’s board, condemned the idea as a setback for asset management companies. ICI President Matt Fink said mandating an independent chairman undermines the authority of the other independent directors. And Dawn-Marie Driscoll, an independent director for the Scudder Funds, said that independent chairmen were unnecessary since boards already have lead independent directors. "Why the mandate rather than the right choice?" commented John Brennan, chairman and CEO of Vanguard.

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