A new report from the Securities Industry Association indicates that annual compliance costs for financial services firms have nearly doubled in the past three years, but whether the findings amount to nothing more than industry grousing or are genuine evidence that recent rulemaking has indeed been excessive, depends entirely on perspective.

"The best way for firms to meet the needs of compliance costs is to comply with the law," said Barbara Roper, director of investor protection at the Consumer Federation of America in Washington.

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