The people T. Rowe Price's Media and Telecommunications Fund have been doing their own accounting private investigating and it's proved to a lucrative business.

Independent research has helped ferret out faulty financials and has helped the mutual fund steer clear of stocks like Adelphia Communications before it plunged into bankruptcy. It has also helped them invest in others, like Cablevision Systems ahead of the 50% rise in its share price.

The fund's team has visited companies such as Vivendi Universal, Time Warner and, along with T. Rowe's high-yield bond fund analysts, tagged along on debt road shows. Many mutual fund managers say the accounting blowups at Enron, WorldCom and the like have taught them a thing or two about sleuthing for financial problems at companies in their portfolios.

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