Mutual fund investors that have been playing it safe with their investments are now paying the price, the Wall Street Journal reports. Many fund companies have introduced principal protected funds, which essentially guarantees that the investor will be protected from losing their initial investment, and perhaps get a little bit more out of it, the newspaper said. Roughly $10 billion has flooded into such funds over the past four years, coinciding with the downturn in the market.

However, with the Nasdaq and the Dow Jones Industrial Average up recently, a lot of these principal protected funds are being absolutely dusted by other, less safe types of funds. The head of regulatory oversight at the National Association of Securities Dealers, Mary Schapiro, expressed her thought to the Journal that the words "guarantee" and "principal protection" play on the fear and insecurities of investors who have taken a beating over the past few years.

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