NEW YORK -- Soft dollars and directed brokerage are appalling and must be eliminated. That's the tune we've been hearing almost uninterrupted for the last several months as regulators and lawmakers have unleashed the hounds on the fund industry. But not all are on board with the efforts to kill the practices.

Many at the Institute for International Research's directed brokerage and soft-dollar practices forum here earlier this month argued that recent Congressional initiatives are misguided. Meanwhile, the Investment Counsel Association of America, whose membership consists of more than 300 investment advisory firms, urged the Securities and Exchange Commission to reject the Investment Company Institute's call for an all-out ban of third-party research from soft dollar practices.

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