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Janus Sets $31.5 Million Repayment to Investors

Janus (JNS - Get Report) said it would make $31.5 million in "restoration" payments to holders of the mutual funds in which the firm allowed improper trading, while rolling out several other initiatives to prevent future abusive trading.

Janus also said it appointed independent director and former Charles Schwab (SCH) vice chairman Steve Scheid as chairman of Janus, effective Jan. 1. Previously, Janus CEO Mark Whiston was to succeed Landon Rowland as chairman.

Friday's announcement follows Janus' promise to "make whole" all investors who lost money because of its 12 "discretionary arrangements" with market-timers, and it continues Janus' push to restore investor confidence in the wake of the widening industry scandal. On Sept. 3, Janus was one of four fund firms named in New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer's $40 million settlement with hedge fund Canary Capital Partners over Canary's improper arrangements with the firms.

The restoration payment is likely to be the first of Janus' payouts to resolve the abusive trading scandal. The fund family is embroiled in investigations by New York and Colorado's top securities regulators as well as the Securities and Exchange Commission. Janus said Friday that it is in talks with regulators to settle the charges, and that it expects the settlement would involve remedial actions as well as more monetary penalties.

"Today's announcement marks an important step in regaining the trust of our fund shareholders," said Janus CEO Mark Whiston. "Although there is still much work to be done, particularly with respect to resolving these matters with the regulators, the fund trustees and JCG's management team are working very hard to protect fund shareholders and deliver strong investment performance."

In the initial days after the Spitzer bombshell, the Denver-based fund shop partially defended its role in the abusive trading scandal as an industrywide situation, and that drew some criticism. More recently, Janus focused less on defending its actions and making a strong push to restore investor confidence. The push ranged from tangible measures such as increasing redemption fees and ending soft-dollar arrangements to such charm-offensive measures as posting testimonials from its fund managers on its Web site.
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