Washington (Dec. 18, 2003) — A group of broker/dealers has blasted a proposal by the Investment Company Institute that would limit the ability of mutual funds and other fiduciary money managers to get independent research from broker/dealers.

An ICI proposal unveiled this week called on the Securities and Exchange Commission to narrow significantly its definition of “permitted research” to curb the research that can be acquired with soft dollars. The ICI also urged the SEC to prohibit all investment advisers, including fund managers, from using soft dollars to acquire any third-party research products and services. The proposal would limit the use of soft dollars to “proprietary research that reflects unique intellectual content” and that isn’t otherwise available in the marketplace.

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