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The local mutual fund industry is growing, but keeps a low profile
WEXFORD - "What do you mean, you only have one fund?" the agitated caller barked at mutual fund manager Ron Muhlenkamp. "What happens when I want to switch?"
"Sir," Ron Muhlenkamp said, dryly and maybe even a bit drolly, "if you know when to switch, you don't need us."
Millions of Americans do seem to need Mr. Muhlenkamp, or people like him, to handle their mutual fund investments.
Mr. Muhlenkamp heads Muhlenkamp & Co., an investment firm that launched its namesake Muhlenkamp Fund, a mixture of stocks and bonds invested for total return, in 1988.
Mr. Muhlenkamp's mutual fund empire may be Pittsburgh's smallest, but the trends in the industry that affect his Muhlenkamp Fund are the same as the 250 funds managed by Federated Investors, Downtown.
Federated, the biggest local player in the mutuals field, took the business world by surprise when it announced plans to go public earlier this fall.
"They're taking advantage of this bull market to finance their company without incurring debt," said John Serrapere, president of Benchmark Financial Advisors.
Federated's inert reflects a trend indicating growth and more growth, pushed on by billions in 401-K pension money and the skyrocketing performance of the stock market.
But in Pittsburgh, at …