Thirty years after the Securities and Exchange Commission allowed an exemption to help mutual funds pay for promotional sales and marketing expenses, the agency is once again considering revising or renaming these controversial charges, known as 12b-1 fees.

But judging from the SEC's history of inaction on this divisive issue, not to mention the mutual fund industry's staunch defense of the use of these fees to support investors and sales intermediaries, many industry executives don't expect a major change to actually see the light.

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