The decline in proxy proposals that seek to change investment restrictions began last year and has continued this year, and so it stands to reason that it is, at least in part, market performance related, said Russ Kinnel, a senior analyst with Morningstar. When the market was doing well, there was impatience on the part of investors with funds that did not yield high returns. Funds that had limits on the percentage of assets that could be invested in equities or on what size companies the fund could buy were fighting with their hands tied behind their back. These days, however, safety is back in vogue.

"A large number of those [proxy proposals] were aimed at changing the fund's growth potential and looking at the dividend requirements so that they could go after stronger performing stocks," Kinnel said. "Now all those safeguards look really useful. No one is really interested in chasing performance in this market."

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