In 2009, 425 mutual funds were either closed or merged out of existence, up nearly three-fold from the 145 funds that ceased to exist in 2008, according to Lipper.

And counting individual share classes, 1336 funds ceased to exist last year, up from 825 share classes that were liquidated the year before. 

In recent years, as the markets have tumbled and continued on a volatile path, many investors have exited from stock funds, and investment advisors have been looking to reduce costs by eliminating overlapping and poorly performing funds.

The total number of funds is still high, however. According to the Investment Company Institute, there are nearly 7,700 funds on the market.

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