For American fund companies looking to offer investors international flair, the emerging markets provide a world of opportunity.

At a recent conference here on the globalization of mutual funds, executives from U.S. and European fund firms discussed the risks and rewards of investing in the so-called emerging markets-defined by the world bank as countries with a gross national product of less than $9,385 per person. They offered a closer look at the opportunities and pitfalls of investing in three markets in particular-Southern Africa, Indonesia, and Russia.

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