Valuation by a third-party of the underlying assets in corporate loan funds received a boost in early February when one of the largest managers of that type of fund announced it was outsourcing the pricing of the assets in three of its loan funds.

Van Kampen of Chicago, which runs the industry's largest loan fund, the Prime Rate Fund with $8 billion in assets, as well as two others - the Senior Floating Rate fund with $1.7 billion in assets and the Senior Income Trust fund with $1.8 billion - agreed to have the loans in those funds priced by Loan Pricing Corp., the leading provider of loan-pricing services for these kinds of funds.

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