With one big bat permanently missing from a once formidable lineup and another nursing a number of nagging injuries, the Denver mutual fund business is undoubtedly short on star power. But with the market rebounding, multiple fraud settlements conceivably behind it and several small shops on the rise, the industry is crawling back from the Styxian depths.

"The worst is over," said Jeff Adams, president of the no-load Westcore Funds, which managed to escape the carnage inflicted upon most of the Denver-area shops. Westcore was able to grow its assets by $300 million during the scourge, bucking the prevailing trend of sizeable outflows. "It hasn't been a fun experience for most people in town, but now it's back to business." Fresh off the completion of its merger of the Aristata Funds, Westcore now has $7.5 billion in assets under management.

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