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Tuesday, November 09, 2004

SEC Probes Stock Loans

by: Theresa Sim

Although Spitzer's mutual fund crusade looks like its over, the Securities and Exchange Commission is still hard at work.

SEC investigators are examining how mutual fund firms treat fees that they earn from lending stock to brokers, reported the Street.com.

The initiative was first disclosed in a speech by Lori Richards, the SEC's director of the Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations.

In that speech, Richards said that examiners were conducting risk-targeted examinations, essentially "'follow[ing] the money.'"

"Some situations involve the inappropriate use of fund's money…we're looking mutual funds' securities lending - to see if the proceeds of the loan go back into the fund. We're also looking at brokerage commissions paid by index funds and other funds…[w]e're looking at how funds select service providers," said Richards.

So far regulators have found that some fund firms are not putting all of the fees back into funds, according to an unnamed person familiar with the matter, as cited by theStreet.com. 

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