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YONKERS, N.Y. – As the Securities and Exchange Commission recently approved a new rule that requires mutual funds to disclose important information about their proxy voting policies and the votes they cast for the shares of stock owned by the funds, Consumer Reports identified five things mutual funds should tell investors to make better fund choices. In addition to the proxy voting policies, Consumer Reports discovered that mutual funds were not disclosing portfolio manager compensation, more frequent information about which stocks the fund holds, the results of SEC inspections, and the conflicts of interest the fund managers may have with their investment banking and brokerage affiliates. Until the SEC implements complete disclosure, the consumer product publication suggests investors: * consider restricting your holdings to stand-alone mutual-fund companies. Fund companies without investment banking connection will free you of the risk that your fund could become a repository for dubious new issues; * avoid fund overlap. Even though you can know what the fund holds only once every six months, check to be sure that you aren’t over-invested in one security – or in one type of security; * avoid unnecessary expenses. Stick to no-load funds that don’t charge 12b-1 marketing fees. Then shop for funds with low expense ratios, generally around 1 percent for domestic stock funds.

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