State Street Research & Management Company of Boston will ask shareholders of 18 funds to permit the funds to increase their 12b-1 fees on Class A shares by as much as 15 basis points, according to an SEC filing. The filing was made Nov. 5. The vote would be Feb. 25.

State Street's filing said the proxy would ask shareholders for the right to increase 12b-1 fees in the future and that additional proxies would subsequently be held for each fund to determine the increase in each case.

The filing also included a draft of the shareholder letter that State Street would send to shareholders informing them of the proxy vote. The letter states that "this proposal is very important . . . [because] . . . all mutual funds are facing increased competition for the sale of shares of mutual funds and . . . ongoing sales of shares are important to a fund's success. Additional assets ultimately benefit shareholders, as investment managers have greater access to investment opportunities and the ability to trade securities more efficiently."

The proposed shareholder letter also explains that the 12b-1 fees are not only used to distribute funds but to pay commissions to financial professionals who sell the funds.

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