Although the number of mutual fund share classes or funds themselves that were merged or eliminated in 2004 dropped sharply from the two years earlier, fund mergers remained at historically high levels, Standard & Poor's reported Thursday. Last year, there were 479 such mergers. In 2003, there were 781, and in 2002, 714.

Four main reasons why fund companies are eliminating share classes and/or product, S&P said, are:

Subscribe Now

Access to premium content including in-depth coverage of mutual funds, hedge funds, 401(K)s, 529 plans, and more.

3-Week Free Trial

Insight and analysis into the management, marketing, operations and technology of the asset management industry.