In the wake of the Fair Fund distribution by Pilgrim Baxter, it seems the SEC is finally ready to part with even more money from the fund. The SEC will be distributing $79 million from the fund to the victims who were affected by Edward Jones' failure to adequately disclose revenue payments from a select group of mutual fund companies.
The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced the distribution of a $79 million Fair Fund to current and former customers of Edward D. Jones & Co., L.P. The beneficiaries of the Fair Fund were victims of Edward Jones’ failure to adequately disclose revenue payments from a select group of mutual fund companies.
Linda Chatman Thomsen, Director of the Division of Enforcement, said, “This distribution marks a significant step in the Commission’s program to return money to investors injured by improper mutual fund practices.”
On Dec. 22, 2004, the SEC brought settled administrative and cease-and-desist proceedings against Edward Jones for failing to adequately disclose its receipt of revenue sharing payments from a select group of mutual fund companies. Edward Jones consented to the entry of the SEC’s Order without admitting or denying the SEC’s findings. The Order found that Edward Jones had entered into revenue sharing agreements with seven “Preferred” mutual fund families. Edward Jones told the public and its customers that it was promoting the sale of the Preferred Families’ mutual funds because of the funds’ long-term investment objectives and performance. At the same time, however, Edward Jones failed to disclose that it received tens of millions of dollars of revenue sharing payments from the Preferred Families each year for selling their mutual funds. The SEC’s Order required Edward Jones to pay disgorgement and prejudgment interest of $37.5 million and civil penalties of $37.5 million into a Fair Fund for distribution to benefit customers of Edward Jones and to retain an independent consultant to, among other things, administer the Fair Fund.
On June 1, 2006, the SEC approved a distribution plan which provided for the pro rata distribution of the Fair Fund to current and former customers of Edward Jones who purchased shares of mutual funds of the Preferred Families between Jan. 1, 1999, and Dec. 31, 2004. The SEC also appointed James R. Doty of the law firm of Baker Botts, L.L.P. as the fund administrator responsible for distributing the Fair Fund. Pursuant to the distribution plan, eligible customers’ shares of the Fair Fund distribution have been calculated based upon the amount of revenue sharing Edward Jones received for each customer’s investments in mutual funds from the Preferred Families. Current customers who have active accounts with Edward Jones have received electronic distributions directly to their accounts at Edward Jones. Customers who no longer have active accounts with Edward Jones have been sent physical checks to their last-known addresses as verified by an address validation system.
With today’s final distributions, investors will receive all disgorgement, prejudgment interest, and civil penalties paid by Edward Jones, plus accumulated interest.
Further information about the distribution can be obtained on Edward Jones’ public website at www.edwardjones.com.
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