TORONTO - Badly slumping sales in the Canadian fund industry have put pressure on small and mid-sized firms, leading to a round of mergers. Through the first eight months of 1999, three well-known companies and their respective founders have struck deals to be acquired by larger independent firms. All three takeover targets and their acquirers are based in Toronto, where most of the industry is concentrated, and all of the merged firms remain in Canadian hands.

The largest transaction - the estimated $230-million acquisition (all figures in Canadian currency) of BPI Financial by C.I. Fund Management - vaults C.I. Fund Management to $14.2 billion in mutual fund assets, up from a pre-takeover level of $10 billion.

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