Janus Capital Management, an investment advisor to Janus Mutual Funds, reimbursed $18 million to more than 325,000 defrauded shareholders late last week as a first step in paying back more than $100 million, as ordered by the Securities and Exchange Commission.
In August of 2004, the SEC found that Janus Capital entered into market timing agreements with 12 entities, and failed to notify its shareholders. Market timing is a strategy where investors buy and sell frequently to try and profit from short-term market cycles.
The agreements permitted the 12 entities to perform more than the commonly allowed four transactions per year, without paying redemption fees. Since waiving these fees imposes the administrative and transaction costs of frequent trading on all the shareholders, Janus Capital had a conflict of interests with Janus Mutual Funds which it failed to disclose to the Board of Trustees.
The SEC censured Janus Capital and ordered it to pay $50 million dollars in disgorgement and $50 million in civil penalties, in addition to interest earned on the money since 2004, totaling more than $100 million.
Shareholders are to be reimbursed for their share of losses due to market timing, and for their share of advisory fees paid by funds that suffered losses during the period of the market timing. To distribute the money to the shareholders in the five affected mutual funds, Janus Capital hired Christopher M. James, an independent distribution consultant.
After a lengthy process of planning and discussion, James started the distribution process that will continue over the coming months.