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Scudder Kemper to Consolidate, Close Funds

The move is aimed at cutting overhead and simplifying customers' investment choices.

Updated from 7:14 a.m. EST

Scudder Kemper Investments

unveiled plans Wednesday to consolidate or close about 40% of its directly sold mutual funds, and standardize the management fees for most of its funds.

Scudder, the New York fund unit of

Zurich Financial Services Group

, said the moves will make it easier for customers to choose investments, and will cut fund expenses by at least $10 million a year.

The company will cut the number of directly sold


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funds -- those marketed to investors by the Scudder Kemper itself -- to 43 from 77, affecting about $35 billion of capital. The firm's 16 existing AARP funds will be merged into existing Scudder funds or renamed with the Scudder label. It will not involve the firm's


funds, which are marketed through brokers and financial advisers.

The changes are subject to shareholder approval.

In a release, the company said it would combine funds based on "similar investment philosophies."

The company also said it will institute a single fixed-rate administrative fee for each fund in a move to simplify expenses for investors. That will replace the funds' current system of separately charging fees for administration, transfers, servicing, custodian and accounting.

Additionally, the company says it will consolidate the multiple boards that oversee each fund, to create a single oversight board for all 43 funds.