Regulators Look Hard at Softing

INSIDE MARKET DATA ANNUAL REVIEW 2003

The debate on the ethics and business benefits of soft-commission deals, or "softing"--where a broker provides services such as research or pays for a client’s data and trading terminals in return for that client placing trade flow with the broker--gathered pace this year.

The UK’s Financial Services Authority (FSA) proposed eliminating these deals altogether, because buy-side firms pay for the services in the form of commissions, and these charges are passed on to clients. The FSA said fund

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