Vanguard Group recently added 1,300 jobs and, perhaps more impressive, $318 billion in assets since the bear market ended in 2003.

The advantage it commands as the low-cost mutual fund family is so formidable that the Malvern, Pa., firm is "guaranteed the segment of the market that is price-sensitive," said Louis Harvey, president of Dalbar, a Boston consulting firm, in an Aug. 21 report from the Philadelphia Inquirer.

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