Alliance Capital has named an independent chairman of the board of a number of its funds, according to an SEC filing last week.

The firm said it made the decision as a direct result of the ongoing investigations into market timing and late trading both by the SEC and New York State, as well as more than 20 lawsuits. The filing also indicates that the firm might appoint an independent chairman to sit on all of its boards.

The SEC has said previously that it is considering requiring funds to have an independent chairman of the board.

John D. Carifa has been replaced as chairman of the board and president of the AllianceBernstein Mutual Funds by Marc O. Mayer, now president and director, and William H. Foulk, Jr., as chairman of the board.

While this may sound like an unusual move, roughly 20% of mutual funds already have an independent chairman, said C. Meyrick Payne, senior partner with Management Practice, Inc.

"It's not that unusual because in the old days, bank holding companies were not allowed to have directors who were outsiders -- so there are about probably 20% of all mutual funds that do have an independent chairman, a residual of the bank days."

Ironically, Putnam and Nations Funds are two companies that already have an independent chairman, according to Payne. Others include American Express Funds and JP Morgan Chase.

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