Two attacks on the SEC's requirement for independent board chairmen are unlikely to topple the hotly contested rule, industry insiders say, and like it or not, funds run by outsiders could find their fees, and therefore their profits, reduced. But one ploy that could result would be a delay past the current Jan. 16, 2006 deadline for funds to install independent chairmen.

Congress has asked the Commission to deliver a report to it by May on what impact independent chairmen would have on fund fees and performance. On April 15, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the SEC will meet in court over the Chamber's lawsuit that the SEC overstepped its bounds by amending the Investment Company Act of 1940 to accommodate the new rule.

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