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Houses Passes Baker Bill With New Muscle

Members of the House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly (418-2) Wednesday to approve the Mutual Funds Integrity and Fee Transparency Act, also known as the Baker Bill.

"The door to scandal not only opened a bit, it blew wide open," Richard Baker (R-LA) told the House.

Updated, the bill now prevents fund insiders from market timing and for orders to be placed after 4 p.m. for that day’s prices. It also addresses the issue of stale NAVs by asking the SEC to clarify fair value pricing, a grey area at many fund complexes and a practice that few currently use.

And going beyond the calls of the ICI and the SEC, which have called for 2% redemption fees for trades within five days, the Baker Bill would allow fund companies to impose higher fees. It also would require fund companies to disclose soft-dollar arrangements with selling and trading partners, directed brokerage arrangements and revenue-sharing arrangements.

It would also require funds to disclose portfolio manager compensation, information with former SEC Chairman Arthur Levitt has said "fund companies will scream" over.