Investors are reaping the benefits of lower fees as more and more mutual fund complexes slash prices, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Ninety fund complexes lowered fees in the first quarter, and since January 2004, a total of 844 funds have dropped rates, according to Lipper. That's more than double the number of funds that lowered fees in the previous two years combined.

Of course, Eliot Spitzer is the reason many fund houses have lowered fees; settlements the New York attorney general reached with firms will cut $925 million out of the fees that funds charge over the next several years.

And while Fidelity, Vanguard and E*Trade have engaged in very public fights over index fund fees, other fund companies have lowered fees on the QT.

With the Securities and Exchange Commission and NASD requiring more disclosure - combined with more active boards of directors - many industry experts believe the downward pressure on fees with continue. "Fund trustees [will] take harder actions on a much more expedited basis," said Barry Barbash, former director of the division of investment management at the SEC and now with Shearman & Sterling.

"We think the client is smart and getting smarter all the time," added Vanguard Chairman John Brennan.

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