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The Geography of Mutual Fund Assets

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Mutual funds are the primary investment vehicle for individual retirement savings, but the spatial aspects of mutual fund investments have not been examined. This paper discusses the characteristics of the mutual fund industry and compares them to other financial industries. Previous studies of the financial industry and quaternary location theory are used to formulate three hypotheses predicting the distribution of mutual fund assets: (1) mutual fund assets will concentrate in the largest urban centers; (2) mutual fund assets will become increasingly concentrated in financial centers over the 1986-1996 period; and (3) the distribution of mutual fund assets will be similar to the distribution of other financial activities. Examination of mutual fund asset data from 1986 and 1996 did not fully support any of the three hypotheses. These findings suggest that the standard elements of quaternary location theory may need to be reevaluated.
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Keywords: Mutual fund; quaternary location; urban hierarchy

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Georgia

Publication date: 01 May 1998

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