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Week in Review

ICI Commends Treasury Blueprint

The Investment Company Institute said it welcomes Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson's plan to overhaul the financial system's regulation apparatus.

"ICI commends Secretary Paulson on a penetrating examination of our current financial regulatory structure, and on a bold concept of the reforms needed to make that structure more appropriate to today's markets and more effective in protecting consumers and promoting competitiveness," said Paul Schott Stevens, ICI president and CEO.

The plan includes a proposal to expand the Federal Reserve's authority to examine investment banks and other financial institutions when they threaten the financial system as a whole, such as the bookkeeping at brokerage firms, hedge funds and commodity trading exchanges.

Critics say the plan does not do enough to fix the risky practices that led to the mortgage crisis, but Paulson said the plan is not intended to be a response to the housing crisis, but part of a broader effort to change regulations.

While testifying before a Labor Department hearing last week, Stevens said the Department's proposal for disclosure to plan sponsors "fills a gap in existing regulations" and will help employers understand how fees of investment products are used to compensate service providers.

The Labor Department's proposed regulations are designed to make sure plan fiduciaries understand the economic relationships between service providers and investment providers.

Stevens urged the Department to make sure disclosures are workable for service providers and do not create information overload for plans.

Diversified Funds Tumble 10.1% in First Quarter

While the Dow Jones Industrial Average soared 391.47 points on Tuesday and many investment banks' stocks rocketed in the mid-double digits on the good news of infusion of capital from shareholders, Lipper preliminary data on mutual fund results for the first quarter of the year was disappointing, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Diversified U.S. equity funds, for instance, tumbled 10.1% on average in the quarter, and even global equity funds took an average hit of a 9.6% decline.

Even China's economy is beginning to show the signs of the much-needed strain; the Chinese government has been trying to quell the stratospheric rises in the markets there for more than a year.

But many mutual fund portfolio managers see great opportunities in the market's first-quarter decline, with much money pouring into small-cap funds.

Y'ers List Money As Top Career Concern

Money and benefits are the chief career concerns of Generation Y professionals, according to a survey commissioned by Robert Half International and Yahoo! HotJobs.

Approximately 33% of Gen Y respondents - those between the age of 21 and 28 - cited compensation and benefits as their top concern, 26% said finding and keeping a job was important and 23% listed career satisfaction as a chief concern.

"The Gen Y professionals we surveyed were focused on practical concerns, such as saving enough money for retirement and being able to balance work and family obligations," said Reesa Staten, senior vice president and director of workplace research for Robert Half International.

"Gen Y workers want the best healthcare and retirement benefits employers can provide as well as defined career paths," Staten said. "To recruit these professionals, firms should make these programs easy to understand, promote them in detail on the company website and highlight them during the interview process."

Pax World Launches Three International Funds

Pax World Management Corp. has launched three new mutual funds focused on environmental and international concerns. The funds are Pax World Global Green Fund, Pax World Small Cap Fund, and Pax World International Fund.

"There is a growing demand for investment options that integrate sustainability concerns into financial analysis and decision making," said Pax World President & CEO Joe Keefe. "With the addition of these three funds, Pax World now offers investors a choice of eight different mutual funds in a range of asset classes following a sustainable investing model."

The Global Green Fund invests in multi-national environmental leaders and seeks to take advantage of the rapid expansion of environmental markets including alternative energy and energy efficiency, water treatment and pollution control, and waste technology and resource management.

The World Small Cap Fund seeks long-term growth of capital by investing in small companies that are innovative and motivated to grow their businesses. The World International Fund aims for long-term capital growth by investing in companies outside the United States.

The funds are immediately available through Pax World and will soon be available through leading brokerage platforms.

AIM Investments Changes Name to Invesco Aim

AIM Investments has been renamed Invesco Aim as part of a new brand strategy that emphasizes the company's global resources.

There will be no change to the names of AIM-branded products and shareholders will still be able to track funds in the same way.

"Becoming Invesco Aim represents an extension of what we've been doing throughout our 32-year history - providing investors with a broad array of investment strategies to meet their evolving needs," said Phil Taylor, senior managing director and head of Invesco's North American retail asset management business. "As Invesco Aim, we're able to draw on the global reach of Invesco to access diversified investment strategies from distinct teams at our many investment centers worldwide."

The new mountain image logo, fashioned after the Himalayan peak Ama Dablam, "represents what we hope investors will envision when they think of Invesco Aim: stability, endurance, strength and longevity - all sound investment principles," Taylor said.

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