Stein Roe Mutual Funds this week created a new class of shares, for sale through full-service financial firms, for its Advisor Young Investor Fund.

Established in 1994, the fund is aimed at young people-with roughly 75% of assets held in the form of custodial accounts for kids-and first-time investors.

The fund seeks to attract younger investors by focusing on companies they already know and care about. And Stein Roe provides educational material to guide them, said a spokesman from Colonial Funds, which distributes funds for Chicago-based Stein Roe.

That material will be available through the additional distribution channels, he said.

Before the change this week, investors had to go directly to Stein Roe to buy shares, which they may still do.

However, they can now also buy shares in the new class A through brokerage channels and financial advisers. Stein Roe is also talking to banks about distribution, the spokes-man said.

"Mutual fund companies are seeing that more mutual funds are sold through intermediaries than are sold direct," said the spokesman.

The Stein Roe Advisor Young Investor Fund has $535 million of assets under management and roughly 65 holdings.

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