MUTUAL FUNDS: The Rise of No-Loads

Quick business quiz: how does a group of companies sell its product if it has no salesmen? Answer: by making that fact a virtue—indeed, the main merchandising point.

Whatever marketing professors might think of that reply, it describes the strategy of the little known "no-load" mutual funds. Four years ago, there were 65 no-load funds. Now there are 160 with 1.4 million shareholder accounts, a fourfold increase. Last year, when mutual funds as a whole suffered an excess of redemptions over sales, the no-loads went on registering increases in net sales.

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