The U.S. could see a 70% decline in the number of mutual fund families over the next five years unless regulations are changed to put them on a more equal footing with hedge funds, according to a new report by the Boston research firm Celent, titled: “The Global Credit Crisis: Implications for North American Wealth Management.”

North American equity mutual funds have seen negative returns of 30% to 50% recently, and most have not shown a positive return since the Internet bubble, the report said.

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