From the February 2008 issue of Research Magazine • Subscribe!

February 1, 2008

ICI Stydy Shows Steady Industry Improvement

The latest annual survey of some 4,000 U.S. households finds 20 percent view the mutual fund industry very favorably, up from 19 percent a year ago, and 57 percent somewhat favorably, unchanged from last year, according to the Investment Company Institute. This continues an upswing in the opinion poll, which hit a low in 2003 when 16 percent of households surveyed viewed the industry very favorably and 55 percent somewhat favorably.

In terms of what shapes investors' opinions of the fund industry, fund performance is cited as the most important factor, 43 percent, followed by the opinion of financial advisors, 21 percent, and personal experience with a fund company, 14 percent. Media coverage is given as a factor by only 1 percent of shareholders, while 9 percent point to friends and family, 7 percent to stock market fluctuations, and 5 percent to current events in the markets.

In addition to releasing the latest survey of shareholder sentiment, ICI also reports that total money market mutual fund assets have increased by $2.48 billion to $3.113 trillion for the week ended January 2, 2008.

Assets of retail money market funds grew $5.42 billion to $1.161 trillion, as taxable money market fund assets expanded by $2.42 billion to $878.31 billion, and tax-exempt fund assets increased by $3.00 billion to $282.46 billion.

Assets of institutional money market funds, however, declined by $2.94 billion to $1.952 trillion. Among institutional funds, taxable money market fund assets increased by $3.60 billion to $1.775 trillion, and tax-exempt fund assets decreased by $6.54 billion to $177.39 billion.

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Janet Levaux is the managing editor of Research; reach her at jlevaux@researchmag.com.

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