The SEC's internal task force on soft dollars will likely wrap up its analysis and report to the chairman at the end of this year, Larry Bergmann
, a senior associate director at the SEC's Division of Market Regulation, told Securities Industry Association
conference attendees in New York.
The task force is considering several aspects of the soft dollar issue. Ever important is the definition of research, said Bergmann. The end result of the agency's analysis may not necessarily be a "narrowing [of the] safe harbor," and could be reemphasis of it, said Bergmann.
The agency will examine the scope of 28(e), the need for more guidance, mixed use products, more transparency in the cost of research and soft dollar documentation.
In analyzing those issues, the task force will look to guidance from the National Association of Securities Dealers'
(NASD) Mutual Fund Task Force, said Bergmann. The NASD Mutual Fund Task Force
, formed in May, met for the first time yesterday.
Bergmann also added that the SEC is somewhat on a "parallel track" with the UK. Bergmann said that the SEC is examining proposals
issued by the UK's Financial Services Authority
on the issues, joking that the British call soft dollars "soft commissions," not "soft pounds."
The SEC's task force within the commission was formed with staff from five offices and division, said Bergmann. Because soft dollars affects both money managers and brokers, the chairman divided oversight of the task force between the Division of Investment Mangement and the Division of Market Regulation, added Bergmann.
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