The staff of the Securities and Exchange Commission has plans to propose rules that would require that e-mails at investment advisory firms be retained for a specified period of time and be made available in certain formats. The SEC would also require firms to allow it access to any e-mail messages, including internal communications. It is likely that the staff will make these recommendations by the end of the year, according to Doug Scheidt, associate director in the SEC's office of investment management.

This move, on the part of the SEC, is a reaction to the 2003 mutual fund trading scandals. However, some investment advisors believe that if a rule like this comes into effect, the SEC will be overstepping its bounds.

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