The Information Content of Mutual Fund Print Advertising

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Abstract

The mutual fund industry has experienced tremendous growth in recent years. During this time period mutual funds have become somewhat of a commodity with many funds using advertising to attract investors. The current study uses content analysis to determine the informational content of fund advertising. The results indicate that while the average number of informational cues increased during the time period 1979 to 1989, there was no significant increase in the information content of mutual fund advertising between 1989 and 1999. Relatively few funds include information such as loads, 12b-1 fees, and expense ratios in their advertisements, and fund ads rarely discuss risk.

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