Seattle-based Washington Mutual said today that a regional product in its WM Group of Funds will be re-branded as it expands its focus to include companies in the state of California.

The Growth Fund of the Northwest, which previously invested only in companies located in Washington, Oregon, Alaska, Idaho and Montana, will now be known as the West Coast Equity Fund.

The product now invests in companies from those states as well as California, a move the company said was designed to help diversify the fund.

"We are still strongly focused on and very familiar with companies based in the Northwest," said Bill Papesh, the fund family’s president. "But including California companies in the portfolio helps us achieve our goal of adding long-term value to shareholders and providing additional diversification."

Ninety-six percent of the fund’s shareholders approved the move last month. The product, as well as its variable annuity sub-account, held nearly $900 million in assets.

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