Shortly after the Securities and Exchange Commission decided to require top executives of mutual fund companies to certify their firms' financial reports, the commission proposed in an open meeting last week to extend the rule to shareholder reports, as well.

The rules are part of anti-corporate fraud legislation, known as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, designed to prevent fraud akin to the alleged misconduct at WorldCom, Enron and other companies. President Bush signed the legislation in July.

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