Despite efforts by shareholder advocacy groups to tamp down on mutual fund board members’ salaries, compensation packages of trustees at the 50 largest fund companies in the first two quarters increased by 8%, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Directors who oversaw 50 to 69 funds last year received average wages totaling $100,000, which firms attributed the additional work generated by new regulatory demands stemming from New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer.

Trustees feeling more heat from regulators are spending more time studying brokerage commissions and asset flows, as well as keeping an eye of for signs of improper trading. As a result, workloads at the biggest firms grew to an average 400 to 450 hours last year from 300 hours in 2002. Additional billable meetings held by directors are translating into larger compensation packages, survey data suggests.

The trend will continue as directors’ workloads continue to increase to meet demands imposed by still forthcoming regulations, experts say. Meanwhile, independent board chairmen, a new SEC requirement, earn 25% to 50% more than other trustees. And this year, some independent chairmen’s salaries may be nearly double the base salaries of their counterparts.

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