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Empire of the FundThe Way We Save Now$
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William A. Birdthistle

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780199398560

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199398560.001.0001

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(p.29) 2 Structure
Empire of the Fund

William A. Birdthistle

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses the anatomy of mutual funds. It is presented as counterintuitive—so much so that many investors are unaware there even is a structure. The chapter contrasts funds with other offerings from financial firms, such as bank accounts or certificates of deposit. Mutual funds are, structurally and operationally, unlike both the quotidian American businesses and the omnipresent bank accounts with which we are all more familiar. They are the financial equivalent of patients in a vegetative state, kept alive only by a complex array of external machines and doctors. To understand funds, the author describes the cast of economic actors who surround and animate them: the investment adviser, fund distributor, custodian, transfer agent, and administrator.

Keywords:   investment adviser, distributor, custodian, transfer agent, administrator, Janus, brokerage

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