Viewed as watchdogs by some and lapdogs by critics, mutual fund boards have arguably seen their responsibilities grow alongside the complexity and demands of the business. Directors have recently come under fire as a result of Eliot Spitzer's probe into fund trading, as they were presumably unaware of the violations. Questions of board due diligence and the adequacy of the governance structure obviously emerge.
Critics of the board structure point to a lack of independence and blame overtaxed directors, generous compensation, a high retirement age, a dearth of independents, lack of personal investment, the definition of independence and affiliated chairpersons. While all valid, some core issues still remain unearthed.