WSJ NEWS ALERT: SEC Tried to Ease Curbs on Analysts

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The SEC joined 12 Wall Street firms in seeking to scrap a key portion of a landmark 2003 deal that put strict curbs on stock analysts, a move that could heighten the ongoing debate about a broad overhaul of the financial-regulatory system.

In a ruling Monday, U.S. District Judge William H. Pauley III in New York rejected a proposed change to the legal settlement put in place to end abuses on Wall Street. The proposal would have allowed employees in investment-banking and research departments at Wall Street firms to “communicate with each other… outside of the presence” of lawyers or compliance-department officials responsible for policing employee conduct — an activity strictly prohibited by the settlement.