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Government Operations: Securities and Exchange Commission Should Improve Procurement Practices for Market Surveillance System Development

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Citation Edit

General Accounting Office, Government Operations: Securities and Exchange Commission Should Improve Procurement Practices for Market Surveillance System Development (AFMD-81-17; B-199434) (Mar. 6, 1981) (full-text).

Overview Edit

As part of the continuing effort to achieve greater economy in contracting for Government goods and services, the GAO reviewed the procurement practices used by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to obtain an automated market surveillance system. The computerized system will be used to support SEC market surveillance efforts which detect trading practices that may violate securities laws and regulations.

The GAO found that the procurement practices of SEC may have permitted one firm to gain an advantage over other firms since: (1) top SEC officials discussed market surveillance problems at great length with representatives of the firm three months before the public request for proposals was made; (2) SEC subsequently awarded a contract to the firm to define and design its market surveillance system on the basis that the firm's proposal was considered to be the most responsive to the needs of SEC; (3) SEC did not use appropriate contract provisions to avoid the creation of an organizational conflict of interest, which could restrict competition for follow-on contracts; and (4) SEC failed to issue a required public notice of its intention to award the firm a noncompetitive contract to test the system's operations.

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