Mutual fund costs have decreased over the past 19 years, even when particularly low-cost funds and large fund complexes which tend to have lower costs, are excluded in calculating the industry averages, according to the Investment Company Institute.

Equity fund costs decreased by 40 percent from 1980 to 1998, driven down by declining sales charges and investors' preferences for low-cost funds, the ICI said in a report the trade group made public Sept. 15. Expenses for bond and money market funds over the same 19-year period declined 29 percent and 24 percent respectively, according to the report.

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