The Security and Exchange Commission has proposed changes to rules which govern electronic record keeping.

Currently, the rules provide that mutual funds and investment advisers may only store records electronically if they were originally created or received in an electronic format, according to the rule proposal made last month. The proposed rules would allow funds and advisers to convert records into an electronic format and then store them electronically.

The standards would be different from those that the commission has adopted for broker-dealers, which require that they store records in a non-rewritable', non-erasable format, according to the proposal. The new proposal imposes no such requirement on funds or advisers.

In the past, the commission's staff has issued no-action letters that have conditionally permitted funds and advisers to convert records into an electronic format, according to the SEC. The proposed rules would incorporate those no-action letters, but would eliminate many of the conditions that apply to electronic archives of non-electronic originals.

The SEC has also proposed changes designed to clarify the obligation funds and advisers have to provide copies of their records to SEC examiners. The amendments would make clear that copies of records must be provided no more than one business day after the request, that the copies must be legible, true, and complete, and that the fund or adviser must provide a means to gain access to, search, view, and sort the records, according to the proposal.

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