Fund companies along with other corporations are taking a more somber, serious approach to their annual reports, with many of the annuals for fiscal 2001 ended June 30 coming out now. The economic and regulatory environment is causing many firms to try to reassure investors that companies mean business.

"There's definitely a more serious tone to annual reports," said Ken Fox, EVP at RWI Design of New York. A key focus is reassuring investors that their money is in responsible, honest hands, added New York-based Gene Meyer Associates Principal Gene Meyer. Firms are telling shareholders and other investors that the "WorldCom's and Enron's are not indicative of the corporate world as a whole," Meyer said

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