CHICAGO - Despite the wave of technological advancements and outsourcing expertise in recent years, fair value pricing remains a tough nut to crack, according to mutual fund industry leaders attending the annual Investment Company Institute Tax & Accounting Conference held here last week.

In this day of heightened regulatory scrutiny, fair value pricing - the term for calculating the net asset value of a fund when the price of its underlying securities may not be readily available - has emerged as a key deterrent to market timers, who take advantage of stale prices to arbitrage mutual fund shares. If, for example, a significant world event were to occur before a fund's fair value could be re-calculated, a market timer could buy or sell off shares to the detriment of everyday investors.

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