TORONTO - Bank of Nova Scotia, following a trend seen among U.S. banks, is planning to merge some of its proprietary funds to reduce administrative costs.

The Canadian bank is seeking shareholder approval to integrate its existing group of 16 Scotia Mutual Funds with the eight Montreal Trust Excelsior Funds to create Scotia Excelsior Funds.

The bank said five similar funds from each family would be merged, resulting in a family of 19 funds. The merger would take effect Oct. 1, pending shareholder and regulatory approval.

Officials at Bank of Nova Scotia said the merger would combine the strengths of both groups and make the full family of funds available through its network of more than 1,100 branches across Canada.

The move will reduce costs by eliminating overlap in administration and computer services. Some investors will also benefit from lower fees.

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