It is no secret that the mutual fund industry has taken its lumps during the market's worst three-year stretch in history, having lost about $1 trillion in assets, while the better part of its 95 million investors have seen their retirement savings decimated.

No firms have been harder hit than the ones at the top. Fidelity has bled $87 billion in assets in the last 12 months ended Jan. 31, Putnam has lost $45 billion, Janus has lost $38 billion, and in spite of the appeal of its index funds, Vanguard's assets have declined by $34 billion, according to Financial Research Corp. (FRC) of Boston.

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