American Century Investments closed its Small Cap Value fund to new investors in order to maintain the fund’s ability to easily invest in smaller companies, the firm announced today.

The Small Cap Value fund has been one of American Century’s top sellers this year as a result of its strong performance, said Brian Spano, a company spokesman. Year-to-date, the fund has had a 22.5% return, according to Morningstar of Chicago. Because it does not invest in technology stocks, it has been especially popular with investors interested in taking shelter from the tech sector fallout, Spano said.

The company decided to close the fund once it reached $1 billion in assets. In 2000, the fund gathered $89 million in assets, increasing its assets to $108 million, Spano said.

With $66 billion in fund assets as of Sept. 31, American Century is the thirteenth largest fund complex, according to Financial Research Corp. of Boston.

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