Although some industry officials warn that the Securities and Exchange Commission's proposal to restrict investment advisers from pay-to-play practices would be draconian, an SEC official said yesterday that there does not seem to be an effective alternative.

Speaking at a luncheon hosted by the District of Columbia Bar, Sarah Bessin, assistant director in the SEC's division of investment management, said the hidden nature of pay-to-play contributions makes it difficult to crack down on them without strong regulations. Merely requiring improved disclosures of such contributions - which is one alternative floated by industry participants - probably would not be sufficient, Bessin said.

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