Traditional mutual funds and ETFs may seem like competitors in a fight to the death. But the truth is, the two products coexist in most portfolios.

Exchange-traded funds are booming. Yet while the growth rate for ETFs has trounced that of open-end funds, the traditional mutual fund is far from dead. Assets under management surged globally to $1.5 trillion in early 2012 from $25 billion in 1997, according to figures compiled by ETF Global Insight, a London-based consulting firm.

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