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Calvert CCO Reports Painstaking SEC Exams

AUSTIN, Texas - Karen Becker has met the "new" Securities and Exchange Commission, and she said it's a more thorough, more knowledgeable regulator than it was prior to the scandal.

Becker, chief compliance officer and senior vice president at the $100 billion Calvert Funds, said her firm underwent a comprehensive site visit from the SEC earlier this year, and she warns that, "they're looking at us in-depth. They had a zillion questions. It's a new SEC. They know our work and what we do." She said the new buzzword at the SEC is "forensic accounting," or the method of honing in on specific areas of risk. As a result, SEC examiners are asking for mounds of electronic information, particularly e-mails. In Becker's experience, they wanted to see e-mails that belonged to the CCO, the firm's general counsel, any number of other executives and even terminated employees.

"It was very broad," she said, adding that examiners even looked over her employees' shoulders while they scrolled through scores of e-mails, trying to ferret out suspicious subject lines. "They're looking for trends and patterns and what can go wrong," Becker told her colleagues at the Investment Company Institute's 2005 Operations and Technology Conference, held here.

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