The Securities and Exchange Commission has ordered five mutual fund companies to return $7 million, plus interest, to investors for not charging them the correct performance-related fees between April 1997 and December 2004. The five companies are Dreyfus, Gartmore Mutual Fund Capital Trust, Kensington Investment Group, Numeric Investors and Putnam Investment Management.

The fund companies failed to measure their funds' assets and performance against an external benchmark for the appropriate time period, the SEC said. The companies have also been censured and required to cease and desist from violating the Investment Advisers Act.

The SEC said that Dreyfus overcharged $2.9 million, Gartmore $632,000, Kensington $617,098, Numeric Investors $919,000 and Putnam $1.3 million. In reaching their settlements with the SEC, the companies neither admitted to nor denied the charges.

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