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TCW takes steps to broaden distribution

The mutual fund subsidiary of TCW Group, a money management firm geared to institutional and high-net-worth investors, is making plans to expand the distribution of its funds.

TCW Funds Management is asking shareholders of the TCW Galileo Funds to approve structural changes which should broaden the distribution of the funds. TCW wants to add a new class of shares -- the Investor class -- which would include a distribution fee of .25 percent for intermediaries who service Investor class shareholders. The funds' existing institutional class has no such distribution fee. TCW said it is also likely its distribution subsidiary will make additional payments to intermediaries.

The new class of shares should help the Galileo funds participate "in more distribution channels and attract new investor assets," TCW said in a proxy statement filed with the SEC and dated Jan. 21.

Josh Pekarsky, a spokesperson for TCW, declined to comment.

TCW of Los Angeles, with more than $50 billion in assets under management, offers 22 Galileo equity and fixed-income funds. The minimum initial investment is $250,000. TCW has had a limited presence in retail mutual fund distribution, primarily through an arrangement with Morgan Stanley Dean Witter in which TCW has provided management to a small group of funds, the TCW/DW funds, which Morgan Stanley Dean Witter distributes.

TCW hopes to increase the visibility of its mutual funds, judging from comments in the proxy statement. For example, TCW recommended shareholders approve a structural change which allows the funds to use an unidentified outside vendor to provide accounting and administrative services to the funds. That will enable the Galileo funds to have their net asset values posted daily in newspapers. Those listings will "enhance the visibility and attractiveness of the Funds to the investing public," TCW said.