McDonalds: a Paragon to the Fund Industry?
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Friday, October 08, 2004

McDonalds: a Paragon to the Fund Industry?

What do fatty burgers and mutual funds have in common? Fast food, like mutual funds, has had a rough year. While fast food faced Super Size Me, mutual funds faced a year of Eliot Spitzer.

Or at least that's Brian Smith's (of the Mutual Fund Education Alliance) reasoning behind why Larry Light, global chief marketing officer of McDonalds, was a hit at the MFEA's annual awards ceremony in Chicago last week. Light was among the speakers at the MFEA's annual award presentation and meeting.

"The McDonalds speaker was everyone's favorite," said Smith, likening the fast food behemoth's challenges to the mutual funds scandals. "They have had to reinvent a number of their products, their image," said Smith.

The awards were presented last week at the MetAmerica club in Chicago. Some attendees came for the day long meeting prior to the awards event, which included appearances by Larry Light, Melody Hobson of Ariel Capital Management, a press panel, said Smith.

Only members are eligible for the MFEA's STAR awards. Currently, the group has 50 members, including Fidelity, Vanguard, American Century, T. Rowe Price, as well as a "good range" of small and medium-sized fund groups, said Smith.

The winners this year for overall shareholder communications were: American Express Funds for companies with less than $3 billion in assets, Ariel Capital Management for companies with $3 billion to $20 billion in assets; and Strong for companies with more than $20 billion in assets.

Winners are determined by a peer review of five judges. Although the judges are people who are involved in investor education and marketing at fund companies, they are assigned review of materials from fund companies outside of their own fund company size, said Smith.

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