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May 31, 2001

Congress Ready to Move on Regs

By Gregory Bresiger

Congress is definitely going to exam ine most securities laws going back to the 1930s and the Great Depression era reforms that created the SEC.

This has raised fears that Congress is going to enact drastic changes in the regulatory structure.

But several lawmakers are saying they are not going to turn the securities industry upside down.

Sen. Phil Gramm (R-Texas), the chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, recently said it will be a simple review.

"This is not such a big deal," Gramm said at a recent Security Traders Association Congressional Conference in Washington. "You start at page one of the law and ask yourself, does this help or hurt people who want to buy or sell securities.' If it hurts, then you start looking at how it does so, who is hurt or helped and why."

Reform Legislation

An economist Geoffrey Gradler, who is an aide to Gramm, said he believes some securities reform legislation will emerge this year or next in Congress. He said that the Senate Banking Committee is gathering information on the securities laws, with the goal of holding a hearing sometime this summer or fall.

An aide to minority Democrats in the House of Representatives, Richard Peterson, said he is certain such a bill will pass either late this year or early in 2002.