As promised, the Securities and Exchange Commission has issued an analysis of the effects of independent directors on mutual funds, but its two reports undermine its proposed rule that would require 75% of a fund's board, including the chairman, to be independent.

On the one hand, the SEC economists found that funds with a higher proportion of independent directors charge lower fees and tend to protect investors from trading abuses. But they didn't find that such funds deliver stronger performance.

That isn't to say that such a link might exist, the SEC economists said. It might just be "a result of the limits of standard statistical methods in identifying such a relation and is not necessarily indicative of the failure of such a relationship to exist."

Now that the SEC has issued its analysis, it will seek public comment for 60 days.

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