The General Accounting Office's report on fund profitability, which draws no conclusion as to whether fund companies have taken advantage of economies of scale to reduce fees but does encourage more disclosure of fees, has elicited a range of responses. It has been dismissed by some industry analysts as a self-serving move by politicians and welcomed by consumer advocates.

"The fund industry is a highly profitable industry but it is a highly competitive industry," said Burton Greenwald, president of B.J. Greenwald & Associates, a mutual fund consultant in Philadelphia. "There is transparency regarding the intrinsic value of the product that is unrivaled by any other industry. So in that sense, to me a lot of this is a political exercise. Given the fact that 50 percent of homes own funds, this becomes a viable political football. ... there has been a total absence of public demand for this information. There hasn't been consumerism revolt on this topic."

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