PALM DESERT, Calif. -- At the start of 2010, the Securities and Exchange Commission established a specialized unit within its Enforcement Division devoted to the looking for fraud and other perfidies in the $40 trillion field of asset management.

A year later, the unit has delivered a wide range of enforcement actions involving investment advisers, investment companies, and other types of private funds. And it’s getting smarter. That is going to spell “trouble with a capital T’’ for fund managers, according to experts appearing Wednesday morning at the final general session of the 2011 Investment Company Institute Mutual Funds and Investment Management Conference.

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