NEW YORK - A leading public relations professional has suggested that a new mutual fund can become successful in a very crowded and competitive market through a focused public relations strategy.

Ann Becker, founder and president of Thompson Becker International, a Foxborough, Mass.-based public relations firm, made the comments at a conference on mutual fund supermarkets sponsored by International Business Communications recently in New York. Becker's clients include the Calvert Funds, Sentinel Funds, and Icon Funds.

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