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SEC Conducts Online Investor Survey

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The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is performing an online survey to learn more about how investors are utilizing the Internet as an information resource when making important investment decisions.

The ten-minute survey is now available on the SEC website, and will be conducted through July 1, 2001.

"As technology continues to transform the securities markets, I'm asking investors to share their experience and expectations with us," said Laura Unger, acting SEC chairwoman. "The survey results will give us valuable insights as we continue to develop programs and policies to help investors profit from technology while avoiding potential pitfalls."

Since taking over as acting chairwoman in Febuary 2001, Unger has brought two issues to the forefront: Regulation Fair Disclosure (Reg FD), and the ever-expanding role of the Internet and technology in individual investment decisions.

Last month, Unger held a public roundtable meeting to discuss Reg FD, the crowning achievement of the previous SEC chairman and small investor advocate Arthur Levitt. Unger has been critical of Reg FD, the rule designed to prevent selective disclosure of sensitive company information, including earnings forecasts, to analysts. Her reservations concerning the perceived benefits of simultaneous dissemination of information to the public have been widely documented, and many within the investment community have echoed her suspicion that the rule may actually hinder the flow of information. Unger was the only SEC commissioner to vote against Reg FD when it was passed last August.

Unger has indicated that she intends to hold a second roundtable meeting devoted to financial websites and how new technology is affecting markets and investors.

However, Unger's tenure as acting SEC chairwoman may be drawing to a close. Today, The New York Times reported that President George W. Bush is set to nominate Harvey L. Pitt for SEC chairman. Pitt served as SEC general counsel in the 1970s, and his clients in private law practice have included the New York Stock Exchange and notorious inside trader Ivan Boesky.

To listen to a webcast of the April 24th SEC roundtable discussion on Reg FD moderated by Laura Unger, click here (very brief registration required).