, the advisor to the Oakmark Funds, has stopped using soft dollars to pay for research and services, effective April 1, the firm announced
Harris Associates will pay for the services out of its own pocket.
"The traditional institutional stock brokerage arrangement … is beginning to unravel under the pressure of market forces. These trends have caused us to reassess our approach to the use of ‘soft dollar’ commissions to pay for third-party research and services," stated John Raitt
, president and chief executive officer of Harris Associates and president of The Oakmark Funds.
Raitt characterized Harris' past soft dollar as "well within the scope of SEC-sanctioned practices." He continued: "We don't believe that our use of soft dollars has increased trading costs. However, as the brokerage industry moves toward unbundling trading from research and other services, we are less confident that this will be true in the future."
Harris manages approximately $29 billion in Oakmark Fund assets.
The firm also announced that it would continue to report employees and directors' personal stakes in Oakmark Funds. At the end of December, Harris employees and fund trustees had $180 million invested in Oakmark Funds.
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