MIAMI-Gary Palmer, chief executive of the Irish Funds Association, led a panel discussion at the National Investment Company Services Association's 26th Annual Conference & Expo here earlier this week, questioning the viability of small asset managers.

"The world is flat, and as the industry expands, it will be hard for the smaller shops to compete," Palmer said.

Jamal Choumane, director of investment administration services at Citibank, said that his organization is committed to using a "best-of-breed" integrated data model, so that each regional center has access to an accurate version of the same data. But even as asset managers go global and world economies continue to become increasingly interdependent, there will be different models for different companies and mutual fund executives in attendance were reminded of the need to use a regional touch, both at home and overseas, to connect to investors.

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