WASHINGTON -- Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass., has asked the General Accounting Office to determine whether securities firms, self-regulatory agencies, and the SEC can take steps to prevent brokers from discriminating against women investors.

Markey, who chairs the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on telecommunications and finance, made the request in a letter sent to comptroller general Charles Bowsher yesterday that complained that the Securities and Exchange Commission appears to have been unsuccessful in confronting the issue.

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