Read his report and you get a rosy picture of a thriving industry, a historical snapshot less than a year old, of booming fund flows and wholesalers reaping tremendous gains. But talk to the man himself and the picture changes: an industry hobbled by a declining economy, wounded by terrorist attacks and marked by bare-essentials thinking.

Don Lariviere and the recruiting firm he heads released a study last week showing that financial industry wholesalers saw substantial pay increases last year. Mutual fund sales managers garnered markedly larger cash compensation packages, by at least 14% and as much as 32%, than other financial industry wholesalers, the study said. And fund wholesalers saw an overall increase by as much as 9% in pay, he said.

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