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August 31, 2003

Disclosure, Disclosure, Disclosure

By Staff Reports

U.S. Congressman Richard Baker was not pleased with the Securities and Exchange Commission in June. That's when the commission released its 120-page report following Baker's call for the regulators to examine a range of issues on fund disclosure. These included the disclosure of fees not mentioned in funds' expense ratios, as well as transaction costs and soft-dollar arrangements.

Baker was disappointed with the overall contents of the SEC report. He then sponsored the Mutual Funds Integrity and Fee Transparency Act, which was passed by a House committee. It must still make its way through the corridors of power in DC. Baker's bill would require the SEC to write new rules on fee disclosure and examine issues like soft dollars. At the same time, Baker and Rep. Michael Oxley (R.-Ohio) wrote to SEC Chairman William Donaldson earlier this year, requesting a report on fund disclosure issues. The deadline for a response is Oct. 1. Meanwhile, the SEC is hoping to finalize a rule this fall which would require mutual funds to disclosure their holdings quarterly rather than twice a year.