One year after New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer began his scud-missile attack on the mutual fund industry, the operations at mutual fund companies have changed substantially, The Wall Street Journal reports. But the long-term impact is not yet known, mostly because several Securities and Exchange Commission proposals are still in their early stages.

"I feel strongly that investor are better off, but it's too early to evaluate the overall impact of the rulemaking because a number of key initiatives are still unresolved," said Mercer Bullard, head of the investor advocacy group Fund Democracy.

Specifically, a rule mandating redemption fees for short-term investors has not yet been passed by the SEC, nor has the legislation been completed for more transparency in fee reporting by fund firms. Perhaps the most intriguing question facing the fund industry is whether Congress should get involved and help change the rules, something it did not do this year in favor of letting the SEC try and do the dirty work.

Investment Company Institute President Paul Schott Stevens said that while the industry has been tarnished by the scandal, the tarnishing has not been as widespread as once feared. "Some of the individual firms that have experienced the problems will have to work hard to recover their footing with investors and, by the same token, firms that have kept their reputations intact have found that there's a benefit in the marketplace."

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