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January 3, 2006

SIA's Soft Dollar Input

By Michael Scotti

The Security Industry Association's Institutional Committee played a key role in the SEC's recent guidance release on research and alternative commission arrangements.

"I think we had a major impact, " said Grady Thomas. He chaired the committee and is also president of the Interstate Group. But Thomas believes the SEC, which will eventually write rules for commission practices, will ease its proposed prohibitions on the use of commissions for OMSs.

"I believe they should change that because OMSs can be critical to executions," he said. He predicted that the SEC will ultimately classify commission payments for OMSs as a mixed use. However, Thomas said the SEC should ban the use of commissions to buy mass media publications.

"That's really overhead and firms should pay for those themselves," he said. The institutional committee expanded to its current 55 members after the SEC called on the SIA two years ago to provide industry expertise on research.