As director of the Securities and Exchange Commission's division of investment management, Barry P. Barbash is the mutual fund industry's chief regulator. So it is not surprising that his keynote address to an industry conference last month in Palm Desert, Calif., was heavily attended and much discussed. The excerpts below are the first installment in a three-part series that will appear in coming weeks.

An article in a major business publication recently put a troubling question to readers: "Is it time to sell your mutual fund?"

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