Mutual fund giant T. Rowe Price said on Monday that it has closed its Mid-Cap Growth Fund to new investors in order to better serve the interests of long-term shareholders.

The Baltimore-based fund shop said the fund will continue to accept additional cash from existing shareholders and direct rollovers from retirement plans into new IRA accounts offered through T. Rowe Price.

"While we're pleased that the fund's favorable performance has attracted investors, if inflows continue at this pace, they could eventually overwhelm our ability to invest in the types of higher quality mid-cap growth stocks that have been the hallmark of the fund since inception," said Brian Berghuis, portfolio manager and president of the Mid-Cap Growth Fund, which he has managed since June 1992.

The no-load fund's assets have grown from roughly $5.7 billion to $9.8 billion due to favorable investment results and substantial cash inflows, the company said. Net cash flows totaled $450 million in 2002 and approximately $1.6 billion year-to-date in 2003. The fund boasts a year-to-date return of 34.54%, according to Chicago-based fund tracker Morningstar.

"We do not intend to alter the fund's investment objective or process to accommodate the pace of new cash inflows," Berghuis added.

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