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Levitt challenges SEC employees to transform ‘gobbledygook’

July 17, 1997

WASHINGTON (AP) _ As part of a campaign for plain English, employees of the nation’s market watchdog agency are being challenged to turn an indecipherable piece of bureaucratic jargon into clear, readable prose.

The prize for the best entry: a $250 U.S. Savings Bond.

Arthur Levitt Jr., chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, threw down the gantlet on Wednesday.

Under the rules, the raw material to be ``translated″ can come from an SEC document or from one submitted to the agency by a member of the public. The ``dictionary″ to be used is a new publication titled ``Plain English Handbook: How to Create Clear SEC Disclosure Documents.″

Led by Levitt, the SEC proposed earlier this year a complete rewrite of mutual fund prospectus documents to make them easier for investors to understand.

``This contest will heighten the awareness of everyone at the SEC that communicating in plain English is the best way to serve investors,″ Levitt said in a statement. ``Gobbledygook must go!″

Entries are due by Aug. 22.

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