NationsBank's joint venture with Dean Witter and Mellon Bank Corp.'s acquisition of Boston Co. represent the first times that major U.S. banking organizations have teamed up with major U.S. securities firms in providing retail mutual fund products and services to the public.

Although "networking" and other arrangements have existed between banks and securities firms for years, never before have the competing industries united on such a large scale through affiliated entities in offering mutual fund services.

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