With the shift from a bull market to a bear market in the past two years, many fund companies have been left holding funds that are relics from a bygone era. With a new emphasis on the bottom line, firms are increasingly merging or liquidating funds that they couldn't churn out fast enough two or three years ago.

In fact, Thomson Wealth Management, formerly Wiesenberger and a division of Thomson Financial, the publisher of MFMN, recently released data showing the level of fund mergers climbed to an all-time high of 372 last year. The reason? Low levels of assets coupled with poor performance have been a drag on fund complexes' profits, said Ray Amani, director of Thomson Wealth. As a result, firm's are culling the small, poorly performing funds out of their lineups and either merging or liquidating those funds, he said.

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