IDEX Mutual Funds has launched the IDEX Protected Principal Stock Fund.

The new equity fund includes a guaranteed principal investment minus fund expenses as long as investors hold the fund for five years. If investors redeem their shares before the five-year maturity date, none of the principal is guaranteed.

The fund also includes an annual "step-up provision," whereby investors can choose to increase their guaranteed principal by locking in market gains. A new five-year term would then begin with the new guaranteed amount.

Gateway Investment Advisors will serve as sub-advisor to the fund, which will begin investing July 1. The fund will invest primarily in S&P 500 Index stocks and Gateway will use an equity and reduced-risk management strategy.

"With the inherent volatility in today's equity markets and unattractive prospects for fixed income returns, the combination of IDEX's principal protection and Gateway's low-risk strategy is an extremely appealing alternative," said J. Patrick Rogers, a Gateway fund manager who will run the new fund.

The fund will be offered to investors during specified time periods each quarter, according to a spokeswoman for IDEX. The first offering will run through June 27, 2002.

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