New web-based services that many fund companies have introduced, such as online investment advice and the ability to open accounts online, are becoming increasingly popular with mutual fund investors, according to a study by American Century Investments of Kansas City, Mo.

The percentage of investors logging onto mutual fund company websites has increased from 28 percent in 1996 to 42 percent this year, according to the American Century Investments 2000 Internet Adoption Study. The study, conducted annually by American Century, surveyed 250 mutual fund investors at least 25 years of age or older who use the Internet and have primary or joint responsibility for household financial decisions.

Of all investors who have been to a mutual fund company website, 22 percent have received investment advice and eight percent have opened an account online. Fifteen percent of mutual fund investors with Internet access expect to receive advice online in the coming year, while eight percent expect to open a new account, the survey found. Forty percent of investors expect to use the advice for mutual fund recommendations, 36 percent for stock recommendations and 31 percent for mutual fund portfolio evaluations, according to the survey.

The study also showed that Internet usage among mutual fund investors has remained steady this year, with 60 percent of mutual fund investors going online compared to 62 percent last year. That number has increased from 18 percent of mutual fund investors who reported Internet usage in 1996, the first year the study was conducted. The average amount of time investors spend using the Internet each month has nearly doubled from 18 hours in 1996 to 33 hours this year, according to the survey.

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