Wells Fargo Co. has joined a small group of investment managers that is trying to make mutual fund prospectuses easy to read. The San Francisco banking company, which manages $23 billion of mutual fund assets, said Thursday that it has developed a "plain-English" prospectus for its Stagecoach family of funds.

The new documents are about 20% shorter than their predecessors, and use color and graphics to make them more inviting to investors. "We were looking at the fund group and trying to find ways to show that we are innovative," said Michael J. Hogan, senior vice president and managing director of the bank's mutual fund group. Plain-English prospectuses seemed like a logical step to take.

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