WASHINGTON D.C. - Terry K. Glenn, chairman of the Investment Company Institute lauded mutual fund investors for shrugging off the markets' downturn and focusing instead on long-term investment goals at the institute's general meeting here earlier this month.

Sound thinking on the part of investors was key in helping equity funds attract a record $309 billion in net new cash flow in 2000, Glenn said.

The industry held $6.97 trillion in assets at the end of last year, a rise from the previous year's figure of $6.85 trillion, he said. Shareholder ownership reached 49 percent of all U.S. households compared with 25 percent just more than a decade ago, he said. The numbers reflect healthy industry growth and suggest that the industry will continue to prosper, even as equity markets decline, he said.

Attendance at the annual conference was 1,736, down from 2,004 in 2000, the ICI said.

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