Mutual fund companies, among other financial service providers, cut their advertising spending in the first quarter, as their assets under their management continued to shrink, Dow Jones reports.

Large advertisers such as Fidelity Investments, Janus Capital and TD Waterhouse slashed ad spending as much as 90% compared with the first quarter of 2002, according to ad-tracker Competitrack.

Fund firms still contributed for half of financial service industry's $205 million aggregate ad spending in the first quarter, which declined 55% compared with two years ago.

Spending to promote consumer investment products across the financial service industry in the first quarter declined 7% from the fourth quarter and 23% from the same period of last year.

Fund firms are shifting their ad focus from promoting specific funds to presenting the service they provide as investment advisers, according to Competitrack. Ad spending on specific funds declined 71% compared with three years ago, while the percentage of spending on firms’ general advisory services rose from 35.3% a year ago to 44.2% in the first quarter.

Vanguard said the percentage of its ad spending of all assets under its management has declined as its assets have grown.

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