PALM DESERT, Calif. - Mutual fund executives are cheering a recent decision by the Securities and Exchange Commission to simplify disclosures for funds that offer customers multiple ways of paying for their investments.

Fund companies offer different payment options to reach different markets. Common options include paying sales fees up-front, upon redeeming shares, or annually - known, respectively, as front-end, back-end, and level sales loads.

Under the "multiple classes of shares" rules, fund companies will no longer have to describe in a single prospectus each payment option they offer.

"This could be a best-case example of where less disclosure is really better disclosure for consumers," said Mark H. Williamson, mutual funds group executive at NationsBank Corp., Charlotte, N.C.

Fund investors will have a better grasp of their investments' costs if they get prospectuses tailored to their share class, he said during a panel discussion at an industry conference here.

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