In the wake of a massive settlement that forced Alliance Capital to lower mutual fund fees, an increasing number of fund shops, most notably MFS Investments, are cutting back operating expenses charged to shareholders.

At first glance, the changes to the fee structures at these firms appear to be attributable to the wave of new assets coming in the door, a trend fueled by a strong rally in the stock market. Indeed, flows have been strong as evidenced by the roughly $33.5 billion U.S. diversified equity funds took in through November 2003, according to New York fund research firm Lipper.

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