The mutual fund industry is balking at a proposed new Securities and Exchange Commission rule that would require top executives to personally sign off on each of their funds' annual and semi-annual reports.

The ruling interprets the anti-corporate fraud legislation that was signed by President Bush last summer to apply to mutual funds. Industry officials say that the law was not designed with funds in mind. Rather, they say, lawmakers sought to prevent accounting scandals at operating companies, such as Enron, Tyco and WorldCom, just a few of the firms that have been accused of misleading investors.

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