MIAMI-The best way to shape the back office's response to the Merrill Lynch Rule was addressed in a presentation last month by Dr. Stephen Winks at the National Investment Company Service Association's 7th Annual Managed Accounts Technology and Operations Conference, recently held here at the Doral Golf Resort and Spa. And it's all about becoming as nimble as the front office.

The Merrill Lynch Rule allows brokers to offer fee-based accounts to clients on a non-discretionary basis, as long as any investment advice provided is "solely incidental" to their order-taking brokerage services.

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