Oppenheimer Funds has recently put a proposal on the table to create an 11-member board for 33 of its 60 mutual funds as well as four hedge funds managed by its Tremont Capital Management unit. The firm notified shareholders of the plan in a proxy filing late last month and is asking them to vote on the proposal, according to Dow Jones Newswire.

Drafted in response to the pending independent chairman rule, the proposal would shrink the number of boards overseeing Oppenheimer funds to three from four. Among the myriad funds that would be overseen by the new board, two of them would be the $12.5 billion Oppenheimer Global Fund and the $187 million Oppenheimer Real Estate Fund.

"An 11-member board is relatively large for a mutual fund," said Lisa Hamman, assistant counsel for the Independent Directors Council, an industry group.

Morningstar analyst Dan McNeela also raised questions about the number of funds the new board would oversee.  "It's hard to draw a hard-and-fast number in the sand, but if a single board member is expected to oversee more than a dozen funds, there's the potential things could be getting stretched thin," he said.

A number of large fund complexes have gone the route of having a single, or a few, boards overseeing multiple funds, including, among others, Vanguard, where a single board comprises of seven people tends to all 130 of its funds. At T. Rowe Price, nine directors look after 79 domestic equity funds and another seven are responsible for 13 international funds.

The staff of Money Management Executive ("MME") has prepared these capsule summaries based on reports published by the news sources to which they are attributed. Those news sources are not associated with MME, and have not prepared, sponsored, endorsed, or approved these summaries.

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