The Securities and Exchange Commission plans to get its CCO Outreach program underway in late spring to early summer in an effort to better communicate and coordinate with mutual fund chief compliance officers, Chairman William Donaldson told attendees at the Investment Company Institute Mutual Funds and Investment Management Conference.

Donaldson said that the Commission's examination staff will host regional seminars at which CCOs can learn the "nuts and bolts" of the examination process and what resources will be available to them. The regional seminars will serve as a lead-up to the agency's first CCO National Seminar, to be held at SEC headquarters in early fall, where roughly 500 CCOs will be in attendance.

"Fund CCOs are the eyes and ears of the board on matters of compliance. We view CCOs as our allies in our parallel mission to protect investors, so we want to assist CCOs to fulfill their function," Donaldson said.

Additionally, the Commission staff plans to publish a periodic newsletter called CCO Observer, which will address issues such as implementing new rules, interpretive releases, recent examination findings and relevant enforcement actions. The newsletter will be written in "plain English" and contain electronic links to relevant materials on the SEC Web site.

As part of the outreach program, the SEC has also established an Exam HotLine that CCOs can call to report a complaint or express concerns about a particular examination.

The calls will be fielded by senior attorneys from its examination program's chief counsel office.

Donaldson assured attendees that the program is not an attempt to re-write a fund's reporting structure or deputize CCOs as SEC agents, but rather an effort to create a dialogue with CCOs that helps them become more informed.

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