A new trade association dedicated to educating individual investors about financial advisers was announced last week.

The trade group, Mutual Fund Forum, has tapped Barbara in as its executive director, Ms, Levin was formerly director of sales force marketing and financial planning services at the Investment Company Institute, the mutual fund industry's premier trade association.

Ms. Levin said that Mutual Fund Forum will work with other industry organizations on educational initiatives and professional development programs for

"Our primary objective is to educate individual investors about the services provided" by financial advisers, Ms. Levin said.

Mutual Fund Forum will also give investors tips on how to select and work with financial advisers to their best advantage and serve as a clearinghouse for information on mutual fund distributors.

The trade group, which will be be based in Bethesda. Md., was formed by more than two dozen brokerage firms and mutual fund companies.

So far, no banks or bank-affiliated brokerages have joined the Mutual Fund Forum. However. Chase Manhattan Bank and NationsBank Corp. have expressed "strong interest" in joining the association, Ms. Levin said.

"I think banks would get particular benefits from membership, because their Gustomers need to understand the value of mutual fund advisers," she said in a telephone interview.

"It would surprise me if banks didn't join," said Tilghman G, Pills 3d, co-chairman of the trade group and chairman of Oppenheimer Funds, New York.

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