Now that the Securities and Exchange Commission guidelines on soft dollars are set, experts predict a resurgence in soft-dollar spending, and service companies see an opportunity to help firms navigate the safe harbor.

Cautious of compounding the credibility crisis that followed the investment banking research and mutual fund trading scandals of recent years, some fund companies had been playing it safe. While the demand for research continues to grow, questions swirled around who should provide it, and how those parties should be paid.

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