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WASHINGTON — The Securities and Exchange Commission has issued a request for contract proposals to conduct the first stage of a major study comparing how the different regulatory systems that apply to broker-dealers and investment advisers affect investors.

The study was first suggested in connection with a rule that the commission adopted in April 2005, which allowed broker-dealers to offer fee-based brokerage accounts without being required to comply with the Advisers Act. The rule was the subject of a large number of comments, SEC said, but many of the concerns that commenters raised in the rulemaking, however, went well beyond the circumstances covered by the rule. The commission said the study will help it determine whether the concerns are justified and, if so, decide how best to respond. Broker-dealers are regulated under the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934. Investment advisers are regulated under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940.

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