The NASD has launched a streamlined version of its online tool that allows investors to instantly compare the expenses of up to three mutual fund products.

The brokerage industry regulator hopes the enhancements will addresses criticisms of the older version the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported.

"Investors had to do too much work," said Elisse Walter, executive vice president for regulatory policy and programs at the NASD.

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 the program prompts investors to choose any three, 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.

"You can see very quickly how a small difference in fees or expenses can cost you a lot of money over years," Walter said.

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