The mutual fund industry matures
From The Wall Street Journal
The number of new mutual funds is decreasing, but the number of fund mergers is increasing. Both trends signal that the fund business in the U.S. is moving from its growth years to a more mature stage. Just 75 open-end mutual funds have been launched this year through June 30, according to financial researcher Wiesenberger. This is down sharply from the 716 funds launched in the first half of 1998. Meanwhile, funds are merging at a record pace of 205 this year through June 30 -- in contrast, there were 161 fund mergers in the first half of 1998. One factor that has helped persuade investment-management executives to apply the brakes on new funds is that a glut of funds can hurt the industry by contributing to the vast number that lag behind benchmarks like the Standard & Poor's 500-stock index.
That which we call a rose...
The easiest way to change an image is to change a name. Mutual funds know this too. In 1998, 1,212 of the 6,829 equity funds tracked by Lipper changed their names. And it didn't stop there -- in the first half of 1999, a total of 711 funds gave themselves a new handle. The Vanguard Group is just one of many firms that have been on a simplification binge, changing fund names by removing confusing, tired terms, like "trust," or awkward punctuation, like slashes, from their fund names. While changing a name can't erase a shameful fund's track record it might help hide some skeletons in a fund's closet.
Archipelago puts in application to become a virtual exchange
From The Chicago Tribune
The Chicago-based Archipelago said it will apply to the SEC to convert its electronic trading network into a self-regulated stock exchange. The 2 ½ year-old company also said it would go public and that Instinet, a trading network catering primarily to institutional investors, will be buying a 16.4% stake. Transformation into a stock exchange would give Archipelago access to more customers. Putnam said Archipelago, as an all-electronic "virtual exchange," would be cheaper than existing exchanges because people will be replaced with Intel processors.
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