The Securities and Exchange commission announced yesterday it is considering a proposal to make public the names of the top 10 securities dealers selling various mutual funds.
The SEC asked for public comment on a proposal to revoke a rule that has kept the information secret since the mutual funds began disclosing the information to the SEC in 1941.
The funds are required to list the top 10 dealers selling shares in their funds in annual reports filed with the SEC.
The SEC said it receives numerous requests for the information under the Freedom of Information Act, but it has withheld the information thus far on grounds that its own rules make the information confidential.
SEC sources speculated that disclosure of the information could aid competing dealers and investment companies.
The commission expects to take up the matter again in September after reviewing comments from the public on the proposal.
A representative of the mutual funds industry said he thought the proposed change was unneeded. David Silver, president of the Investment Company Istitute, said, "I don't see why this kind of competitive information should have to be made public, and I've never understood why the SEC was collecting it at all."