President Bush proposed Monday a $913 million budget for the Securities and Exchange Commission, one that would represent a 12.5% increase in available funds for the regulatory agency.

The budget consists of $893 million in new budget authority and a $20 million surplus from the previous year. The increased bankroll would enable the SEC to hire 106 new employees to further advance its management and operational initiatives.

The staff allocation includes 44 employees in investment management regulation, 30 employees in the prevention and suppression of fraud and another 30 to augment regulation of securities markets.

The beefed-up staff would be used to build on initiatives already underway including enhanced oversight of mutual funds and market reform initiatives. Additionally, if the Commission decides to go ahead with plans to require hedge fund advisors to register with the agency, the new hires will oversee that process as well.

The added dollars would allow the SEC to spend more money on information technology, create the new Office of Risk Assessment and Strategic Planning, and institute risk-based disclosure reviews and compliance inspections and exams.

The appropriations would also enable the SEC to relocate to its previously announced new headquarters at Station Place and keep its salaries competitive with other government agencies.

In the spring, Chairman William Donaldson will testify before Congress in support of Bush’s appropriations bill.

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