Garett Van Wagoner of the VanWagoner Funds, who suffered major losses in the bear market by betting on technology and dot-com companies, will charge investors based on how his funds fare against competitors, Reuters reports.

The common method is yearly costs being based on asset levels in a fund, but now VanWagoner will lower his fees if he fails to beat his benchmarks, according to a filing with the SEC.

Huge players in the market such as Fidelity Investments employ performance-based fees, but they are not in any way an industry standard.

The Van Wagoner Fund’s board of directors has approved the move, and the firm is currently waiting for the thumbs up from investors.

Observers assert that after such poor mutual fund performance and stock declines in recent years, the idea of paying less for such dismal returns might be particularly attractive to investors.

Mercer Bullard, a professor at the University of Mississippi School of Law and a shareholder advocate, said this practice could catch on if enough investors voiced their opinion. More managers should "put their money where their mouth is," he added.

Van Wagoner has opted for this move in a very tough period for the company. It currently manages assets of $200 million, a stark contrast from the $2.7 billion it managed at the end of 1999, during the tail end of the tech boom. The fund manager’s insistence on sticking with Internet, technology and software bets has forced the firm to fold three portfolios.

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The staff of Money Management Executive ("MME") has prepared these capsule summaries based on reports published by the news sources to which they are attributed. Those news sources are not associated with MME, and have not prepared, sponsored, endorsed, or approved these summaries.

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