What's a Soft Dollar Good For?
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Thursday, September 22, 2005

What's a Soft Dollar Good For?

Soft dollars might go as far as they used to. The SEC on Wednesday voted 5-0 to solicit public comment on the issue for 30 days and publish interpretive guidance on soft dollar usage.

The guidance would clarify Section 28(e)'s safe harbor, which allows soft dollars to be used for brokerage and research services that help money managers make decisions.

A newer, restricted definition of soft dollars would likely not include things like conferences in Bermuda, rent, telephone calls, and college tuition bills -- all highlighted in the SEC's meeting by Commissioner Paul Atkins, according to Reuters.

Also not included would be items like computer hardware and entertainment expenses, reports Marketwatch.

But soft dollars are not on the road to total ruin.

"As a realistic matter, soft dollars will remain. The question is, what can they be used for and how can they be monitored," Meyer Eisenberg, acting director of the SEC's investment management division, told Reuters.

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