Massachusetts Financial Services Co. of Boston is practicing diversification, but not just the investment diversification generally associated with a mutual fund.

MFS has used a diversified distribution network to build its mutual fund assets at a compound annual growth rate of 44 percent for the two-year period ending Dec. 31, 1999, better than twice the fund industry's 18 percent growth rate. Those mutual fund assets have come in the door through a mix of broker/dealers, financial advisors and financial institutions such as banks and credit unions. The three channels accounted for 58 percent, 30 percent and 12 percent, respectively, of MFS' fund sales in 1999.

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