The first mutual funds in the US were established in the Thirties and since then, their popularity has continuously grown. In the Eighties and Nineties, mutual funds became the main instrument that the American public uses to invest in the financial markets in general and in stocks in particular.
The following figures attest to the success of mutual funds:
- At the end of 1,980 there were 564 mutual funds in the United States with assets totaling 134 billion dollars.
- By 2,007, those numbers had increased to more than 8,000 funds worth approximately 12 trillion dollars.
Diagram 31 presents the development of the mutual fund market since 1,950.
Today, more than 8,000 mutual funds are active in the US. The wide variety of mutual funds allows an investor to choose a fund that specifically matches his needs. However, due to the high number of funds available, finding that perfect fund is more difficult than ever.
Companies that specialize in mutual funds manage most mutual funds. These large companies offer the public a variety of funds in every investment sector. Alongside these companies, savings and investment banks also offer mutual funds.
Here are a few examples of large mutual fund managers:
Mutual Fund Management Companies:
- Fidelity Investments.
- T. Rowe Price Group.
- Vanguard Group.
- Putnam Funds.
Banks That Offer Mutual Funds:
- Merrill Lynch & Company.
- Wells Fargo & Company.
- Morgan Stanley.
Later in this chapter we will expand on the leading mutual fund management companies and the variety of funds that they offer.