With the prolonged market downturn, getting retail investors to keep assets in funds is becoming increasingly difficult, while institutional investors with their more disciplined investment style are becoming fund companies' new best friends.

When the markets were soaring and nearly all fund companies could boast stellar returns, getting retail investors to put money into mutual funds was relatively easy. While institutional investors pumped money in as well, they were less romanticized by the upswing and did so to a much lesser degree. And the same is true in the other direction.

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