WASHINGTON - Many primary dealers and interdealer brokers still do not have fully automated systems to record their trades in the government securities market, according to a survey of dealers taken by the Public Securities Association.

The survey, which was submitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission, found that only four of the 20 dealers who responded have computer systems that automatically record time of customer trades. Another 10 use paper tickets that are timestamped by the back office, while six said they used some combination of the two methods.

The survey was done in response to an SEC suggestion made earlier this year that called for improved record keeping for trades in Treasury and agency-backed securities.

The median estimate of costs for making the required changes was $56,000, but some estimates ran as high as $10 million. Interdealer brokers indicated far higher compliance costs that could exceed $1 million.

The PSA said any record-keeping rules would be phased in over a period of 18 months to two years. The association also said that while the SEC is interested in the time an order is received and when it is executed, only the time of execution is relevant for the government market.

To avoid duplication, the PSA recommended that any rules exclude bids now submitted to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York on the Treasury's automated auction system. It also urged a flexible reporting format for dealers.

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