The bullish case for the asset management business is stronger than ever, as long-term mutual fund assets have risen over $600 billion in the first half of 2003.

Bolstered by a giant stock market rally in recent months, the U.S. mutual fund industry has clawed its way back to $7.3 trillion in assets, nearly matching its all-time high set back in early 2000, according to Strategic Insight. That could potentially mean extraordinary growth for asset managers over the next few years, the New York-based research firm said in a report.

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