An effort by a group of advisors to gauge the ethical mettle of mutual fund companies has reaped mixed results, according to organizers.

The survey-launched in December by the Alpha Group, an informal association of 18 wealth managers-has received responses from slightly more than half of the 100 mutual fund companies contacted, says Harold Evensky, an Alpha Group member and principal of Evensky, Brown, Katz & Levitt in Coral Gables, Fla.

While Evensky says this would have been considered a good response before the eruption of fund scandals in September, he continues, "On the other hand, given all the discussion and talk on the issue, it's kind of disappointing."

The group asked fund companies a host of questions, including whether the companies have policies regarding market timing and soft dollars, if they use fair-market pricing, if they have policies regarding managers investing in their own funds and whether or not they use lot basis tax trading.

Evensky says some of the positive trends picked up in the survey are that a majority of respondents have undertaken reviews of their codes of ethics since the scandals became publicized. A growing number of companies, he says, also seem to be adopting soft dollar policies.

A more troublesome trend, he says, is that many mutual fund companies have their own hedge funds. "That needs to be watched as a potential conflict," he says.

The Alpha Group hasn't decided on its next step, but its efforts will continue to focus on making mutual fund companies more accountable to the public, Evensky says.

"We'll be keeping the pressure on the industry to not to go back to the days of the good old boys network and negotiating behind the scenes with regulators to do what they want to do," he says.