Great Western Financial Corp.'s decision to pull its mutual fund complex off the auction block could signal problems for other banks looking for a quick and lucrative exit from the fund business.

While Great Western said this week it postponed a sale of Sierra Capital Management in light of H.F. Ahmanson & Co.'s hostile takeover bid, the industry consensus is that the thrift was unable to fetch the price it wanted. That could spell trouble for future buyers and sellers of mutual fund units, investment bankers said.

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