Asset management industry merger and acquisition activity picked up significantly in 2003, but the size and scope of the deals plummeted, in part, due to concerns arising from the scandal engulfing the fund industry, according to a recent study released by Putnam Lovell NBF Securities of New York.

In all, the industry saw a record number of deals, 137, during the year, up 23% from the 111 in 2002, according to the report "The Age of Scandal: M&A Activity in the Money Management Industry." While the raw number increased, the overall assets under management changing hands slipped to $430 billion, the lowest level since 1996. This is because buyers made modest moves, for the most part, with fund adoptions making up a fair share of the activity.

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