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Benchmark Survey: Russell indexes rank #1 in institutional usage -Eight of the top 10 U.S. benchmarks are Russell indexes-

TACOMA, Wash.-Russell's family of 21 U.S. indexes continues to rank as the most widely used set of performance benchmarks among institutional investment products, which include funds used by corporate pension plans and other institutional investment organizations. A new survey measuring market share of various stock index families shows Russell holds an industry-leading 48.6% share of the institutional market for benchmarks, and Russell's style indexes in particular continue to grow in popularity as benchmarks for active portfolios.

The survey also found about $1.4 trillion in assets now is benchmarked to Russell indexes and, in terms of institutional usage, Russell indexes represent eight of the top 10 and 11 of the top 13 benchmarks. The small cap Russell 2000 ( Index ranks as the second most commonly used equity benchmark in the U.S. institutional market.

These rankings were determined by Russell's examination of 2,790 U.S. equity products listed in Nelson Information's Marketplace Web database.

"Professional investors clearly understand that Russell indexes provide them with objective benchmarks because they know the importance of using the right tools when measuring relative performance of investment funds," said David Grieger, managing director of Russell's global marketing group. "Since Russell indexes are a direct outgrowth of our need for better tools to evaluate investment managers for Russell's core multi-manager investment business, they were specifically created as broadly representative and unbiased performance benchmarks. More and more investors are recognizing this quality, and they clearly want to use the most relevant indexes available."

Russell's family of indexes was the only major set of benchmarks to gain market share based on product usage this year, continuing a trend identified by Nelson in its original survey of benchmark usage in 1998. Russell's market share has increased from 18.5% in 1996, 27.9% in 1998 and 39.3% in 2002.

"Russell created its indexes to be used as benchmarks by institutional investors," said Kelly Haughton, strategic director for Russell indexes. "We are heartened to see that Russell indexes are the benchmarks of choice among investment managers of institutional U.S. equity funds."

The strongest shift among Russell indexes was the surge in use of Russell's growth and value style indexes. The Russell 2000( Growth Index, for example, now is the benchmark of choice for 194 investment products, increasing from 31 in 1996, 81 in 1998, 116 in 2002, and 174 in 2003.

Individually, the top 10 U.S. equity benchmarks ranked by usage are the Standard & Poors 500 Index, Russell 2000( Index, Russell 1000( Value Index, Russell 2000( Growth Index, Russell 1000( Growth Index, Russell 2000( Value Index, Russell Midcap( Growth Index, Russell 2500(tm) Index, Russell Midcap( Value Index, and the Standard and Poors MidCap 400 Index.

Russell originally developed and still uses its indexes as tools to help pension plan sponsors and other investors evaluate the performance of active investment managers. The indexes also help investors assemble and evaluate a total portfolio by using benchmarks that reflect particular market segments based on objective criteria, such as capitalization and tradable shares.