Financial Accounting Blog

Monday, March 08, 2004

An agency problem reported in USA Today between a legendary investor Warren Buffett, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway and his mutual fund directors.
Buffett chastised fund directors, who also were his targets in Berkshire's 2002 shareholder letter. Mutual fund directors are supposed to look out for shareholders' best interests. They also hire the companies that manage a fund's assets. So far, no fund's board of directors has terminated management contracts with any of the companies caught in the mutual fund trading scandal, he says.

Buffett offered a suggestion to make fund governance stronger: He would require directors to affirm that they have looked at other management companies to run the fund and that their current choice is one of the better ones available. He'd also ask directors to affirm that they have negotiated management fees comparable to similar funds.