A broader distribution network for Van Kampen Merritt's tax-exempt mutual funds should be the result of the merger of the Van Kampen Merritt Companies Inc. and American Capital Management and Research Inc., an official of the combined companies said Friday.

The bulk of Van Kampen's fund sales now occur through its retail broker network, but "we intend to do a better job of penetrating into the bank market," said Richard S. Braddock, a principal of Clayton Dubilier & Rice Inc., which owns Van Kampen.

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