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News Flash - Half Contacted by SEC Admit to Market Timing

Half of the companies that the Securities and Exchange Commission has contacted with regards to improper trading have reportedly admitted wrongdoing. Forty-four of the 88 companies who've received letters from the SEC have allowed some form of market timing - including firms whose own policies clearly disallow the practice. Not as many companies have admitted to late trading, however.

The wide-ranging probes have prompted many industry experts to predict an overhaul to the mutual fund industry, including the banning of market timing and rule changes regarding the composition of fund boards.

John A. Hill, a board member of Putnam Investments, which recently fired four fund managers for improper trades, conceded his company's policies "have not been perfect," but said Putnam has already taken steps to prevent any further imperfection. Many companies have followed Putnam's lead, taking these types of pre-emptive steps before Spitzer's and the SEC's probes dig deeper.

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