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Highlights

Since September 2003, widespread allegations of abusive practices involving mutual funds have come to light. An abuse called late trading allowed some investors, at times in collusion with pension plan intermediary, broker-dealer, or fund adviser staff, to profit at other investors' expense by submitting orders for fund shares to receive that day's price after the legal cutoff. Other investors were allowed to conduct market timing trades to take advantage of stale prices used by funds to calculate their net asset values at funds with stated policies against such trading. SEC and other regulators have responded with numerous proposals for new or revised practices. Based on a body of work that GAO has conducted involving mutual funds, GAO analyzed and provides views on proposed and final rules involving (1) fund pricing and compliance practices intended to address various mutual fund trading abuses that have come to light recently, (2) fund boards' independence and effectiveness, (3) fund adviser compensation of broker-dealers that sell fund shares, and (4) additional actions regulators could take to further improve transparency and investor understanding of the fees they pay.

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