Wall Street: Mutual Disenchantment

In its ambitious, 22-month investigation of the securities markets, the Securities & Exchange Commission has taken a crack at almost everyone — traders, brokers, specialists, stock exchange officers. Last week it was the turn of the mutual funds, those havens of school teachers, soldiers and other mostly small investors who want to scramble their nest eggs over scores of stocks.

The number of mutual fund investors (3,000,000) is greater than the adult population of Chicago, and the value of their holdings ($21 billion in 6,000,000 accounts) exceeds the gross nation al product of Australia. The typical mutual fund buyer, reports the...

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