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Shareholders challenging fees paid to the advisers of their mutual funds in civil lawsuits under §36(b) of the Investment Company Act face steep substantive and procedural challenges, but a recent decision from the federal district of New Jersey holds promise for private plaintiffs in this area. The central allegation in Kasilag v. Hartford Investment Financial Services1 was that the defendant investment adviser retained sub-advisers to perform substantially all of the investment management services for the defendant’s client mutual funds, and then charged its fund clients much higher investment management fees than what those services actually cost defendant. Based on these allegations, the federal district court denied the investment manager’s Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss and allowed the shareholders’ lawsuits to proceed.

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