The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission will be hiring researchers to study how the different regulatory structures for investment advisors and broker-dealers affect investors.

The SEC has issued a request for study contract proposals.

Officials came up with the idea of conducting the study after noting the response to a 2005 SEC rule. The 2005 rule allows broker-dealers to offer fee-based accounts without having to comply with the Investment Advisors Act of 1940.

Broker-dealers are regulated under the 1934 Securities and Exchange Act.

The 2005 rule generated a large number of public comments, but many of the comments addressed concerns that went beyond the scope of the 2005 rule, according to SEC officials.

The proposed study would examine whether the commenters’ concerns are legitimate and what actions the SEC could take in response, officials say.

“Our goal is to improve investor protection by updating our regulation to deal with the realities of today’s marketplace,” SEC Chairman Christopher Cox says in a statement.

The researchers conducting the study would use data concerning the marketing, sale and delivery of the products and services offered by broker-dealers and investment advisors to individual investors, according to the SEC’s request for proposals.