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Fund Spy

Fund Industry Pioneer Raises Its Game

Even the oldest can improve.

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Even the oldest mutual fund company can improve--and it has.

MFS' staying power is impressive. The firm, which launched the country's first mutual fund in 1924, has not only stuck around--a feat that shouldn't be taken for granted in an industry where funds, portfolio managers, and even fund families come and go--it also has become one of the 20 largest, with more than $75 billion in mutual fund assets.

Its history hasn't been without disappointment. MFS' most recent struggles came in the early 2000s, when two things tripped up the fund family. One, many of its most-prominent funds simply stunk during the bear market that began in early 2000. Two, MFS, like several other mutual fund complexes, was caught allowing some investors to market-time its funds.

Bridget B. Hughes does not own (actual or beneficial) shares in any of the securities mentioned above. Find out about Morningstar’s editorial policies.