Securities: The Profitable Piece Corps

From La Paz to Luxembourg, the mutual fund has turned out to be as exportable a U.S. commodity as Coca-Cola or cowboy movies. And no firm sells mutuals with more vigor than Investors Overseas Services, a Panama-chartered, Switzerland-based company headed by U.S. expatriates that after five years has 20,000 clients in 62 countries. Since its organization in 1956 by Bernard Cornfeld, a pudgy onetime Philadelphia social worker and mutual-fund salesman, I.O.S. has doubled sales every year. This year I.O.S. expects to sell long-term mutual-fund shares and contracts worth $100 million. Profit last year, after taxes to Panama of only...

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