In some ways, today's mutual fund industry hardly resembles the fund business of a decade ago. During the past 10 years, the industry has exploded from under $600 billion in assets under management to about $6 trillion. Alternative products, such as separately managed accounts, have gained favor, while the number of funds has nearly doubled from 3,892 at year-end 1992 to 6,537.

So, what will the fund industry look like a decade from now? Observers envision a fund business increasingly imbued with alternative investments, including yet-to-be-invented products. They see increased specialization among fund companies, new markets for distribution, and assets under management growing at a rate of between 10% and 20% each year.

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