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Lipper
Muriel Siebert & Co.


Scandal? What Scandal?



One of the challenges mutual fund investors are always faced with is being able to see the forest from the trees.

Ever since late-trading and market-timing shenanigans were discovered within the fund industry during the last quarter of 2003, the business pages of newspapers and investment magazines have focused on those issues rather than spotlighting other news within the fund industry. And that's okay. Scandals are supposed to be brought to light and news about them known to sell papers and even rile investors enough to think twice before investing again.

But, like every new day, each scandal is different. And in the case of the mutual fund industry's improprieties, investors have chosen to yawn rather than flee.

According to Money Management Executive, an on-line mutual fund news firm, research conducted by the Spectrum Group showed that half of the investors surveyed were unfazed by the scandals and over two-fifths of them weren't even aware of the industry's problems.

"Mutual fund investors have demonstrated a surprising lack of concern about the scandals that have rocked the industry," said Cathrine McBreen, managing director at Spectrum. "While a general lack of knowledge about the issues no doubt contributes to this apathy, the findings do suggest that investors simply don't see a direct connection between the headlines and their own bottom lines."

Look beyond that survey and at money flowing into funds, U.S.News.com reports that since the scandal broke, more than $249 billion has gone into stock and bond funds--- more money than the industry typically sees in one year.

John Brennan, chairman and chief executive of Vanguard says: "To me, what the investor has been doing and saying lately is, we have great confidence in mutual funds as the vehicle of choice to save for the future."

That's the way it looks to me, too.


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