Finally, insiders launched candid criticism at the mutual fund industry last week, to help it respond sensibly to the economic meltdown and reposition itself to regain investor trust.

Foremost among this advice is giving portfolio managers back the power to pick stocks and run with their investment ideas, instead of being so tightly tethered to an investment class and market capitalization. Further, fund managers should step away from their style boxes and take a look at bigger economic trends. The signs were all there, beginning with the 2007 demise of Bear Stearns' credit derivatives-laden hedge funds. Anyone could have foreseen the accelerating problems of the credit and capital markets, mutual fund managers among them. Had more of them moved into cash or safe investments, they would have avoided the across-the-board losses in 2008.

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