A state known for dry but hot weather will soon be equipped with a new branch office from the country’s hottest mutual fund firm, Knight Ridder reports.

One day after Financial Research Corp. reported the company’s September fund sales were again tops in the nation, American Funds, announced it would open an operations office in Scottsdale, Ariz. The Los Angeles-based firm has already hired 50 local employees to work in a makeshift office in north Scottsdale, and by next year, it hopes to have 200 workers in Scottsdale.

"There was growing demand in our existing service centers, and we decided to add a new one, preferably in the Rocky Mountain time zone," said Chuck Freadhoff, a spokesman for American’s parent company, Capital Group Cos. Favorable demographics and geography, he said, were the chief reasons the firm picked Scottsdale.

By 2005, the company hopes to have 500 employees working out of its new, 110,000-square-foot building, at an upscale complex called The Pinnacle at Kierland. Arizona is the company’s fifth location – the other four are in California, Texas, Indiana and Virginia.

On Wednesday, FRC said that American Funds was No. 1 in U.S. fund sales for September, with $6.1 billion in sales. The company has seen solid sales over the past year, partly because it has not become embroiled in the ongoing mutual fund scandal.

American Funds has 25 million shareholders in its 29 mutual funds.

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