BISYS, a leading provider of outsourcing solutions for the financial services sector, announced today that it has reached an agreement with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to settle an investigation into past marketing arrangements with mutual fund advisers. The investigation, which began in 2004, examined arrangements between BISYS Fund Services (BFS) and mutual fund advisers in which portions of BFS’ administration fees were used to pay for marketing and distribution of the mutual funds. BISYS was charged with aiding and abetting, and not with commission of a direct fraud. In the settlement, the SEC acknowledges cooperation from BFS, and BFS neither admits nor denies findings of the order.
"We are glad to have reached closure on this issue so that we can move forward to build and strengthen our business," said Fred Naddaff, president of BISYS Fund Services. "We have implemented industry- leading best practices to ensure compliance with the highest legal and ethical standards."
Between June 1999 and July 2004, BFS maintained marketing arrangements with 27 mutual fund advisers in which it set aside a portion of its administration fees to use for marketing on behalf of mutual funds. Upon learning of the practices under investigation, BFS’ senior management team and the BISYS board initiated the following actions:
• Employed outside legal counsel to conduct an internal review of all marketing arrangements
• Terminated all existing marketing arrangements
• Disciplined and/or terminated employees involved with the arrangements in question
• Implemented new compliance policies and procedures that represent industry-leading best practices
Since the investigation was initiated in early December 2004, BISYS has cooperated with the SEC, providing information and documents and making employees available for interviews and/or testimony. In accordance with the settlement, BISYS has agreed to take the following actions:
• Retain and fully cooperate with an independent compliance consultant, who will conduct a comprehensive review of BFS’ policies and procedures and report to the BISYS board and SEC.
• Retain and fully cooperate with an independent distribution consultant to oversee the distribution of approximately $21.4 million that BISYS will pay for the benefit of affected mutual funds. These amounts have been previously disclosed and reserved for by BISYS.
• Provide full cooperation with a follow-up review conducted by the independent compliance consultant to ensure implementation of any recommendations contained in the consultant’s report.
"BISYS Fund Services has emerged a stronger organization today than it was two years ago and has continued to attract new business and maintain client loyalty,” said Naddaff. “We’ve developed and implemented a system of associate training to instill a culture of compliance, created new procedures that represent the industry’s leading best practices, and adopted a more rigorous approach to risk management. We believe there is a positive net effect that will serve to benefit our clients and their shareholders."