The Securities and Exchange Commission announced Monday that it will distribute $37 million in fair funds to 300,000 Columbia Funds investors whose holdings were affected by market timing between 1998 and 2003. It is the first of a five fair funds distributions totaling $140 that the SEC is making to Columbia Funds investors.

“The Commission has now returned more than $1.8 billion to injured investors through fair fund distributions in multiple cases,” said Linda Chatman Thomsen, director of the division of enforcement. “This first distribution from the Columbia fair fund marks another significant step in our continuing efforts to distribute fair funds to mutual fund investors.”

The SEC brought its case against Columbia Management Advisors and Columbia Funds Distributor in 2005, for which the companies paid $70 million in disgorgement and $70 million in penalties.

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