Things had to get better in 2003. That was the mantra heading into the year. After all, the market was entering its third consecutive down year and still reeling from the fallout from the bubble-burst and the ongoing war on terror. Logic only had it that things had to move upwards, because they sure couldn't get worse.

The war in Iraq buoyed the economy and things appeared to be on the upswing for the fund industry. Regulators seemed to be more focused on hedge funds than on mutual funds and the Investment Company Institute even successfully lobbied against legislation that would have required mutual funds to provide individualized fee statements. Sure, clear sailing seemed far ahead.

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