PALM DESERT, Calif. - Perhaps nobody captured the current mood of the mutual fund business better than Barry Barbash, a former Securities and Exchange Commission investment management director, when he told industry executives attending the annual Investment Company Institute meeting here last week that registration was still open for an upcoming "Regulatory Overload Conference."

"It's for those of you who just cannot take it anymore," joked Barbash, now a partner at the law firm of Shearman & Sterling in New York.

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