Mutual fund directors' salaries continued to climb last year despite widespread criticism that many trustees failed in their duties to uphold shareholders' interests, The Wall Street Journal reports.
Separate studies by Equilar Inc, a compensation specialist, and investment consultant Management Practice both found that directors' salaries mostly held their ground and in some cases inched up in spite of high-profile regulatory probes of corporate boardrooms. Median salaries of trustees at the nation's 50 largest fund families grew by 13% last year to $128,000 from $113,000 in the previous year, according to Management Practice. Growing criticism of trustees who were charged with accepting lofty salaries to rubber stamp requests by management to raise fees paid by investors has failed to shame trustees into taking pay cuts, according to both reports. Attacks from Berkshire Hathaway Chief Warren Buffet and New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer on the widespread failure of trustees to stop the epidemic of scandals has charged the debate on preserving generous salaries doled out in boardrooms. In the settlement with Bank of America, Spitzer went so far as to insist on the resignations of eight trustees from the bank's Nations Funds subsidiary. But shakeups in other mutual fund boardrooms appear to be virtually nonexistent.