As further evidence of just how much the competitive landscape has changed over the past few years, American Funds, one of the nation's oldest mutual fund families and the money manager for Los Angeles-based Capital Group, has three of its funds listed as the industry's top five.

Just a year ago, Boston-based Fidelity Investments and Vanguard Group of Valley Forge, Pa., were the kings of big funds, but now American Funds commands $196.9 billion of the $323 billion collectively under management by the nation's top five mutual funds. That's a 61% share, according to a recent report from the Fort Worth Star Telegram.

The top five in terms of assets under management include the Vanguard 500 Index, $70.9 billion; the American Funds Growth Fund of America, $67.8 billion; the American Funds Investment Company of America, $66.3 billion; the American Funds Washington Mutual Fund, $62.8 billion; and the Fidelity Contrafund, $55 billion.

According to Russel Kinnel, director of mutual fund research at Morningstar in Chicago, the five funds share attributes that attract investors.

"You will see below average expenses, high quality management, diversified portfolios, and, of course, a long and generally successful track record," Kinnel said.

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