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Thursday, May 27, 2004

New SEC Rules Target Breakpoints, Ethics

by: Theresa Sim

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) voted to approve new rules and changes to existing rules requiring more breakpoint disclosure and ethical standards in a meeting on Wednesday.

The SEC's Task Force conducted an "examination sweep" in late 2002 and issued a report. In response to those findings, the SEC is cracking down, both through enforcement and through the amendments to existing breakpoint rules.

Starting September 1, 2004, funds will have to have the following disclosures in their prospectuses: funds must describe breakpoint arrangements, how to meet a breakpoint, how they calculate value to determine eligibility for the breakpoint, that shareholders may have to provide additional information to qualify for breakpoints, and whether breakpoint information is on a fund's web site.

Advisers and "access persons" must disclose their personal portfolios and receive pre-clearance for IPOs. Employees must acknowledge the rules in writing and also report violations to their chief compliance officer.

Registered investment advisers have a bit more time - until January 7, 2005 - to get into compliance with the new ethical requirements. 

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