Millions of Americans invest their retirement savings, college savings, and life savings in mutual funds. As of the end of 2014, over $16 trillion were invested in U.S. mutual funds. This was an increase of $6 trillion over five years. Unfortunately, the 43 percent of American households that have chosen to entrust their hard-earned dollars to mutual fund advisors and distributors are being taken advantage of in the form of excessive and unlawful fees and other abuses, which ultimately deplete the return on investment they seek.
Mutual funds are overseen by boards of directors who are supposed to be independent from the advisors who create and run the mutual funds. These directors are to serve as “watchdogs” and are charged with looking out for the interests of mutual fund investors; however, these “watchdogs” often serve as nothing more than rubberstamps for the advisors, typically approving the advisors’ proposals in rote fashion.
While the mutual fund industry has suffered several highly-publicized scandals over the years, such as those involving late trading and market timing, the most common abuse is excessive advisory fees. For decades, the mutual fund industry has violated its duties to investors by charging exorbitant fees.
Richardson, Patrick, Westbrook & Brickman has been at the forefront of the fight to protect mutual fund investors from the climate of greed that has permeated the mutual fund industry. We have sought to hold mutual fund advisors accountable for reaping excessive fees and profits at the expense of investors. Our attorneys have obtained favorable settlements for our clients against some of the mutual fund industry’s worst offenders.
In March 2010, in the case of Jones v. Harris Associates, L.P., Richardson, Patrick, Westbrook & Brickman secured a landmark victory for mutual fund shareholders. In Jones, the United States Supreme Court sided with plaintiffs and significantly broadened shareholders rights under the Investment Company Act.
Our firm is continuing to wage the fight to protect mutual fund shareholders. Please contact us with any questions or if you’d like to explore your legal rights.