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Weekly Web Roundup


MFMarketnews.com is keeping abreast of the industry's latest developments with postings twice a day. If you didn't log on last week, here are some Web exclusives you missed:

* The Hartford launched its 529 plan, dubbed SMART 529. Sponsored by West Virginia, the plan allows investments in individual mutual funds, static portfolios and age-based portfolios. West Virginia residents are able to invest directly into the plan. Nationwide, SMART 529 is available only through financial intermediaries.

* Investors are becoming less leery of privacy and security concerns when they invest via the Internet, according to a study released by American Century. The study shows that 26% of those surveyed worry about the security and privacy of their transactions on the Web, down from 39% in 2000. And only 4% of respondents were concerned about the reliability of conducting such transactions through a Web site, compared to 14% in the study's first year.

* PFPC International, a Dublin-based provider of fund accounting and administration services, said that it will open a new office in County Wexford, Ireland. The new office, the company's second in the country, will provide accounting, shareholder services, trustee and custody services for offshore funds. The firm is a unit of PFPC Inc.

* Assets in exchange-traded funds fell by $990 million to slightly more than $82 billion in January, the Investment Company Institute reported. That follows an increase of more than $4 billion in ETF assets in the previous month. Nearly all of January's decrease came from domestic ETFs, which fell by $929 million. International ETFs, which comprise one-third of the ETFs registered in the U.S., decreased by $61 million.