The Vanguard Group of Malvern, Pa. led the mutual fund industry in sales of long-term funds last year for the fourth year in a row.

Vanguard had net sales of approximately $45.9 billion in 1999, according to Financial Research Corp. of Boston, a fund tracking and consulting firm. Janus of Denver had the second-highest sales, of $35.7 billion, FRC reported.

Vanguard's four-year reign as sales leader is close to matching the run of Fidelity Investments of Boston, which led the industry in sales for five consecutive years from 1991 to 1995. FRC has tracked fund sales data since 1988. Fidelity ranked third in net sales last year, with sales of approximately $20.3 billion.

The mutual fund industry, including money market funds, ended last year with assets under management of $6.8 trillion, the Investment Company Institute reported. The ICI tracks fund sales industry-wide and by investment category, but does not break out sales figures on a company-by-company basis.

While Vanguard led the industry in sales, its total was off slightly from 1998. Vanguard had nearly $48.9 billion in net sales in 1998, an industry record. Nevertheless, last year's $45.9 total is the second largest in industry history, according to FRC.

Dec. 31 marked the end of a banner year for Janus. The firm's sales nearly quadrupled from $9 billion in 1998, according to FRC. That increase moved Janus from seventh to second among fund companies in net sales from 1998 to 1999. Putnam Investments of Boston, the firm with the second highest sales in 1998, dropped to ninth last year, according to FRC. Putnam had net sales of about $5.3 billion.

Industry-wide, sales of long-term funds were down 36 percent last year, FRC reported. Net sales dropped from $226.8 billion in 1998 to $145.5 billion last year, according to FRC. That decrease was most noticeable for fixed-income funds. Fixed-income funds suffered net redemptions for the year of approximately $3.1 billion, according to FRC. Equity funds had net sales of approximately $141.4 billion. International and global funds had net sales of $7.3 billion, FRC reported. (See related data, page15.)

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