According to a survey by American Century Investments, more mutual fund investors are using the Internet for research. In fact, there's been a three-fold increase in use over the past four years. The study found 62% of investors—about 35 million people—now access the Web for research and information, news, and financial services. That's more than triple the 18% figure in 1996, as reported in Credit Union Magazine's News Now.

Currently, 42% of investors access mutual fund companies' Web sites—up from 28% in 1996—though many investors still worry about buying and selling mutual funds online. In the latest survey, 37% of investors cited "security and privacy issues" as a reason for not doing transactions online—but that's down from 68% four years ago. Mutual fund investors who also own individual stocks are more comfortable investing online. Among that group, which makes up 60% of investors, almost one-fourth have traded securities online.

What do investors view when they visit a mutual fund company's Web site? Checking share prices ranks as the most popular action investors take—which has been the case in previous studies. Almost half (47%) of the respondents said they had checked prices online. Downloading prospectuses (36%) and checking account balances (34%) also were popular actions.

© 2000 Credit Union National Association Inc.