Mutual fund company
Van Eck Worldwide
says securities regulators are considering filing an enforcement action against it for permitting abusive trading in some of its funds.
The fund company made the announcement in a corporate filing late Thursday and said it is considering how to respond to the so-called Wells notice from the
Securities and Exchange Commission
previously reported that
the company had been subpoenaed in connection with a probe of Canary Capital Partners, a hedge fund at the center of the market-timing scandal.
Van Eck says the SEC's action centers around allegations of market-timing in its funds. Regulators also are considering legal action against two of the company's senior officers.
Market timing is the frequent trading of mutual fund shares to capitalize on descrepancies in different markets. While timing is legal, many fund companies tell investors that they discourage the practices. Regulators probing abusive trading in the mutual fund industry have taken action against a dozen mutual fund companies that permitted some hedge funds to engage in market timing despite claims to the contrary.
The involvement of the Van Eck funds in the mutual fund investigation first surfaced earlier this week when two insurance companies,
, reached a deal with regulators over allegations that they allowed investors to time mutual fund shares through some of their variable annuity products. Regulators allege that at least one hedge fund had an arrangement with Conseco to time shares of some Van Eck funds.
Conseco and Inviva paid $20 million to settle the regulatory investigation. In 2002, Conseco sold its variable annuities division to Inviva.
Variable annuities are mutual funds packaged in an insurance contract, which offers a tax benefit to the buyer.
The Van Eck filing made no mention of any arrangements with variable annuity firms.