WASHINGTON -- The Securities and Exchange Commission has been monitoring the municipal bond industry from "the sidelines" since the agency's inception 50 years ago, but that is all changing in the 1990s, a key SEC aide warned last week.

"I think the role of the commission in the 1990s has to be defined," said Edward Pittman, counsel to Commissioner Richard Roberts. "Whether it's by legislation or by commission rule making, I think there are going to be changes by the year 2000," said Mr. Pittman, who was speaking at a Municipal Forum of New York luncheon last Thursday.

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