INVESCO's announcement that it will drop the no-load sales model may be the last such move by a major mutual fund company, despite the shrinking volume of direct sales.

With direct sales to investors probably only accounting now for 20% to 25% of mutual fund volume, some companies see the intermediary business as a much better way to get new assets, said Geoff Bobroff, a mutual fund analyst based in Providence, R.I. Also, he said, some fund companies have assumed that selling through intermediaries would be cheaper than direct marketing.

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