The Securities and Exchange Commission's search for a replacement for Paul Roye, the departing head of the SEC's investment management division that oversees the $8 trillion mutual fund industry, is still on, according to Dow Jones.

SEC Chairman William Donaldson is believed to have a list of prospective candidates whom he is pursuing. Ranking high on that list is chief counsel at T. Rowe Price, Harry Hopkins, who Donaldson has tried to convince more than once to take up the post. Hopkins, who plans to retire in a few years, is a highly regarded attorney who is also a vice president and director at the Baltimore fund firm. He has made his disinterest in the position clear to the Commission.

Donaldson is said to be looking for someone from the mutual fund industry rather than a partner at a law firm who specializes in mutual fund matters. To that end, he has included in his short list the following names: Heidi Stam, a principal at the Vanguard Group, and Thomas Lemke, Legg Mason general counsel and a former partner with Morgan Lewis & Bockius in Washington.

Donaldson's list also includes Washington-based lawyers in private practice: Diane Ambler, a partner at Kirkpatrick & Lockhart, Kenneth Berman, a partner at Debevoise & Plimpton, and Jack Murphy, a partner at Dechert LLP, the firm where Roye worked before joining the SEC.

In the interim, Donaldson may fill the post with a manager from another division in the SEC. The standstill created by a leadership void is likely to slow down the agency's efforts to push through a handful of reforms needed to curb trading abuses uncovered by New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer in 2003. Some of the issues on the SEC's agenda include a hard 4 p.m. trading deadline and soft-dollar arrangements.

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