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Tuesday, December 10, 2002

SEC Will Take Up Disclose

by: Sean Hanna, Editor in Chief

The SEC is going to take up a number of fund related issues at its meeting today (Wednesday), according to Paul Roye, SEC investment management division director. Roye said the Commission would look at ways to improve shareholder reports. Included in the review would be the whether the SEC would require funds to disclose their complete list of holdings each quarter.

Roye's comments came as President Bush nominated William H. Donaldson to follow Harvey Pitt as SEC Chair.

The comments that may most concern fund firms were on expense disclosure and the disclosure of portfolio holdings. Roye warned that the Commission is considering requiring fund firms to disclose actual six-month expenses as a part of its semi-annual report. It may also require funds to include a standard calculation so that investors may more easily compare expenses between funds.

"One of the things we've been worried about is trying to improve shareholder reports," said Paul Roye. He did not comment on whether the reporting lag would be shortened from the current 60 days if the disclosure frequency were to be upped to quarterly from semi-annually. He did rule out requiring real-time holdings disclosure in a concession to the fund industries argument that front-runners could use such disclosure to harm fund investors.

Roye also offered a second concession to the industry. The SEC will review whether funds making complete portfolio holdings available on the Web would be able to provide "streamlined" printed reports. "If you want all the information, it's available to you," commented Roye. To make the printed reports more valuable as a highlight, the SEC will look at letting fund firm summarize information in the form of pie charts and other graphics. Roye also said that money market funds would be exempt from the requirements.  

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