Retirement planning and retirement plans are key factors in mutual fund sales and offer an opportunity for growth for the industry, a new Investment Company Institute report suggests.

Fifty percent of mutual fund shareholders surveyed said that employer-sponsored retirement plans are the primary channel through which they purchase mutual funds, the report said. The ICI released its 1998 Profile of Mutual Fund Shareholders on Sept. 24. Thirty-eight percent of shareholders said they own funds solely through employer-sponsored retirement plans, according to the survey. Sixty-two percent of shareholders said they owned mutual funds in retirement plans, the report said.

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