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May 3 issue of Economist has an article on mutual funds. In UK the investment industry is trending toward index funds (called "trackers" there).

Britain outlawed commissions on the sale of mutual funds and initiated "retail distribution review" (RDR) which requires advisers to reveal the true cost of their services. As a result more are paid a flat fee for service, and recommend cost effective investments rather than those with attractive commissions. Hence, a trend toward "commoditization" of investment funds.

They discuss a new category, "smart beta funds" which weigh components by sales, profits or volatility rather than market cap.

What do we know about smart beta funds in the states? Do we have them?
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