The Securities and Exchange Commission's new rule requiring mutual fund boards to seat independent directors picked up support last week from two powerful congressional financial services committee members. House Financial Services Committee Chairman Michael Oxley (R-Ohio) and ranking minority member Barney Frank (D-Mass.) both communicated their support of the SEC's independent board chairman rule to Chairman William Donaldson. Both congressmen's remarks were drafted against the backdrop of omnibus appropriations legislation working its way through Congress. The omnibus legislation includes an initiative for the Commission to compare the performance of mutual funds under the supervision of independent chairmen to other funds steered by chairman who have direct ties to management.