PALM DESERT, Calif. - The Securities and Exchange Commission will certainly have its hands full for the next 12 months, as a spate of issues within the mutual fund industry have landed in its crosshairs. Despite a robust agenda, the SEC told fund executives at the Mutual Fund Investment and Management Conference two weeks ago that it will "marshal all of the resources [it] can" so that each item is carefully examined and dealt with in a timely fashion.

But many skeptics are saying that recent intervention from Congress will only serve to protract an already slow-moving process. The House Committee on Financial Services recently sent a letter to SEC Chairman William Donaldson advising him to review the merits of up to 18 industry practices following an airing of the grievances on Capitol Hill last month. The recommendation from the House is yet further evidence that Chairman Michael Oxley plans to continue his crusade to improve corporate governance and restore investor confidence.

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