In one case, a manager passed a worker in the hallway and said, "By the way, this is your last day. Go down to personnel." In another, a disgruntled employee pointed a gun at a manager's head. And in yet another, employees were all contained for hours in a giant room to feed off each other's anxiety until all had been told whether their jobs would be terminated.

At a time when mutual fund companies are increasingly scaling back their operations, nearly 50 executives gathered at the National Investment Company Service Association's East Coast Regional Meeting Wednesday to discuss the best--and worst strategies--for laying off workers.

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