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Rating:Odd Lots, February 8, 2000 Not Rated 3.0 Email Routing List Email & Route  Print Print
Tuesday, February 08, 2000

Odd Lots, February 8, 2000

Reported by Hayley Green

Funds in Europe boom
From The Wall Street Journal
Mutual funds in Europe saw all time record inflows in December. Net flows into stock funds in Germany, France, Italy, the United Kingdom, Spain and Switzerland rose 4.3% to $14.6 billion in December from $14.0 billion in November, according to monthly information released by Europe's mutual fund associations. Industry observers say the money is coming from both first-time buyers and investors who are ramping up their holdings. International and specialty funds have been seeing the greatest inflows, with technology the leading sector. Japanese and Asian funds, as well as pan-European funds are seeing a great amount of attention as well.

The end of "exchange" funds
From The Wall Street Journal
The tax advantage of "exchange" or swap funds may be over. A Treasury Department proposal included in President Clinton's budget effectively brings an end to the latest version of investment pools by eliminating their tax advantage. These funds currently allow investors with a large holding in one stock to diversify into a basket of securities without having to pay capital-gains taxes. Because exchange funds are available wealthy investors, eliminating them would be politically more palatable than many other Clinton proposals. The plan would raise an estimated $108 million in revenue across 10 years, which could be used to help offset broader tax cuts for many of the not-so-wealthy.

Mutual funds don't take action
From CBS MarketWatch
Institutional investors have voiced their displeasure several times in the past several decades -- but when one think of shareholder activism one is more likely to think of the big public pension funds in places like California, New York and Wisconsin. When was the last time the public saw Vanguard or Fidelity and "shareholder activist" in the same sentence, the publication questions. Mutual fund companies do not typically discuss their role in corporate governance issues, other than to say they carefully review company proxies and vote their shares in the interests of the fund and its shareholders. Industry experts say mutual funds will need to change their attitude about corporate governance, especially as they get larger and more use indexing strategies that encourage long-term holdings.  

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