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November 8, 2005

Don't Call Them Soft' Anymore

By Peter Chapman

Soft is out. The chief regulatory bodies in the U.S. and the U.K. have decided to stop

using the terms "soft dollars" and "soft commissions," respectively. In the U.S., the Securities and Exchange Commission will now use the term "client commission arrangements" to describe the use of commissions to pay for research services. That's according to Larry Bergman, a senior associate director at the SEC, who was speaking at a recent industry conference. In the U.K., the Financial Services Authority intends to "remove the phrase soft commissions' from our regulatory lexicon," said Christina Sinclair, an FSA exec, at the same conference. "Commissions can be used to pay for research and execution," she said. "It's as simple as that."