The NASD has launched a streamlined version of its online tool that allows investors to instantly compare the expenses of up to three mutual funds. The brokerage industry regulator hopes the enhancements will address criticisms of the older version.

Geared toward the novice investor, the new version no longer requires information about sales charges or operating expenses and allows users to search by general fund name or type. It offers a tutorial, too.

With data on 18,000 mutual funds and 160 exchange-traded funds available, the program prompts investors to choose any three and then to enter the dollar value of their investment, anticipated rate of return and holding period. The expense analyzer then generates a side-by-side comparison of funds' real-time expenses, along with a graph depicting the 20-year projection.

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