Mutual fund managers prided themselves on sticking to their investment mandates early on in the financial crisis of 2008. This, even as the average U.S. stock fund fell nearly 30% in value. They counseled investors to do the same. Three years later, there is a new direction for funds: the flexibility to go anywhere, to pay closer attention to macroeconomic and market trends, and to even hunker down in cash.

In the third quarter, at least eight tactical asset allocation-type funds launched. At the NICSA General Membership Meeting earlier this month, fund executives said they expect more outcome-oriented, absolute-return funds to hit the market, as well.

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