For One Group Funds’ shareholders, the wait is over. Today, the SEC said that roughly $55.6 million in so-called “fair funds” have been distributed to more than 200,000 investors who were bilked by fraudulent market timing activity in certain Banc One mutual funds—the One Group Funds. (If you’re scoring at home, that’s about $278 per shareholder; the amount received was based on the amount invested.)
The Banc One fair fund was established after the company agreed to pay $10 million in disgorgement, and $40 million in fines to settle charges of abusive market timing practices. The entire fund has now been returned to investors, including accumulated interest. Banc One joins Pilgrim Baxter and Bank of America’s Columbia Funds in those firms that have already cut checks for their fund shareholders. Other notable scandal-tainted firms such as Putnam, Janus and AIM, are still working toward refunding their shareholders.
One industry observer says affected shareholders at other fund shops may still have to wait a few more years before all the ill-gotten gains are returned. “There are still more cases,” says Mercer Bullard, assistant law professor at the University of Mississippi and founder of shareholder advocacy group Fund Democracy. “I’m not even sure we’re done with settlements, much less the fair fund distributions.”