Mutual funds were introduced to the United States in the 1890s, and they became popular in the 1920s.These early funds were generally closed-end funds with a fixed number of shares that often traded at prices above the portfolio value.The first open-end mutual fund, called the Massachusetts Investors Trust (now part of the MFS family of funds), with redeemable shares was established on March 21, 1924. However, closed-end funds remained more popular than open-end funds throughout the 1920s. In 1929, open-end funds accounted for only 5% of the industry's $27 billion in total assets.
After the stock market crash of 1929, Congress passed a series of acts regulating the securities markets in general and mutual funds in particular. The Securities Act of 1933 requires that all investments sold to the public, including mutual funds, be registered with the SEC and that they provide prospective investors with a prospectus that discloses essential facts about the investment. The Securities and Exchange Act of 1934 requires that issuers of securities, including mutual funds, report regularly to their investors; this act also created the Securities and Exchange Commission, which is the principal regulator of mutual funds. The Revenue Act of 1936 established guidelines for the taxation of mutual funds, while the Investment Company Act of 1940 governs their structure.
The first retail index fund, First Index Investment Trust, was formed in 1976 by The Vanguard Group, headed by John Bogle; it is now called the "Vanguard 500 Index Fund" and is one of the world's largest mutual funds, with more than $220 billion in assets as of November 30, 2015.
A bull market for both stocks and bonds, new product introductions (including tax-exempt bond, sector, international and target date funds) and wider distribution of fund shares.Mutual funds are now the preferred investment option in certain types of fast-growing retirement plans,
In 2003, the mutual fund industry was involved in a scandal involving unequal treatment of fund shareholders. Some fund management companies allowed favored investors to engage in late trading,
Mutual funds play an important role in U.S. household finances; by the end of 2015, funds accounted for 24% of household financial assets. Their role in retirement planning is particularly significant. Roughly half of the assets in 401(k) (and similar retirement) plans and in individual retirement accounts were invested in mutual funds.
The first insurance company in the United States underwrote fire insurance and was formed in Charleston, South Carolina, in 1735.In 1752, Benjamin Franklin helped form a mutual insurance company called the Philadelphia which is the nation's oldest insurance carrier still in operation.Franklin's company was the first to make contributions toward fire prevention.
The first stock insurance company formed in the United States was the Insurance Company of North America in 1792.Massachusetts enacted the first state law requiring insurance companies to maintain adequate reserves in 1837. Formal regulation of the insurance industry began in earnest when the first state commissioner of insurance was appointed in New Hampshire in 1851. In 1869, the State of New York appointed its own commissioner of insurance and created a state insurance department to move towards more comprehensive regulation of insurance at the state level.
Insurance and the insurance industry has grown, diversified and developed significantly ever since. Insurance companies were, in large part, prohibited from writing more than one line of insurance until laws began to permit multi-line charters in the 1950s. From an industry dominated by small, local, single-line mutual companies and member societies, the business of insurance has grown increasingly towards multi-line, multi-state and even multi-national insurance conglomerates and holding companies.