Amateur Hour

One mutual fund solicits stock picks from ordinary investors. Is this really a good idea?

Here's how the revolution started: average investors began to go online instead of using traditional brokers. Now there's a new front: a few of these average investors are taking a role in selecting the stocks in their mutual funds, assuming a duty once left to professionals. This new breed of lay analysts is cropping up far away from Wall Street. Kathy Dimler is a perfect example. The Fairport, N.Y., mother of two culls financial information from magazines, websites and television, even following the ticker on her computer while she makes lunch for her sons Alex, 3, and Mark, 6.

When she...

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