The final numbers aren't in yet, but it's a safe bet that mutual fund assets shot past the $2 trillion mark in November.

The Investment Company Institute reported last week that fund assets had reached $1.976 trillion in October. Fund assets grew at a 27% clip over the 12-month period.

Mutual fund assets still lag behind commercial bank deposits, but the gap is closing relentlessly.

According to Federal Reserve Board data, domestic commercial banks had total deposits of $2.392 trillion at the end of October. That's a slim 3% gain from a year earlier, when deposits totaled $2.320 trillion.

Lines Would Cross in '94

If the growth rates continue unchanged, mutual fund assets will overtake bank deposits sometime in 1994.

The $2 trillion figure is an important benchmark for the fund industry, which has witnessed extraordinary growth in recent years. Mutual fund assets only hit the $1 trillion in 1990, meaning that fund assets have doubled in just three years.

Net new sales of mutual funds - excluding reinvested dividends and redemptions - totaled $23.1 billion in October. That's up from $18.8 billion in September, and from $11.0 billion in October 1992.

Fixed-Income Funds Gain

Mutual funds that invest in bonds and other fixed-income securities formed the biggest category in October, with $749.0 billion of assets. Stock funds followed, with $662.3 billion.

Taxable money market funds held $461.9 billion of assets, and tax-exempt money market funds claimed $102.5 billion.

As of October, there were 4,410 mutual funds, up from 3,733 a year earlier, the institute said.

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