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SEC Returns to Work, But Delays Likely

After having limited staff due to the government shutdown, the Securities & Exchange Commission is attempting to resume normal operations, but that may take some time.

“Over the past 30 days, with a limited staff, we followed our Operations Plan Under a Lapse in Appropriations and Government Shutdown,” SEC Chairman Jay Clayton said in a statement. “This plan focused on monitoring the functioning of our markets and, as necessary to prevent imminent threats to property, taking action.I commend our staff for their dedication to this task.”

In further noting that approximately 4,500 employees are now returning to their posts in Washington, DC and 11 regional offices, Clayton explained that the leaders of the agency’s divisions and offices are continuing to assess how to most effectively transition to normal operations.

In fact, the following SEC divisions and offices have already published statements regarding their transition plans.

Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations

The OCIE says it is returning to normal operation and that it anticipates resuming examinations, including those that were in-progress prior to, as well as those that were postponed during, the lapse in appropriations.

OCIE also anticipates addressing filings, submissions and requests for staff action based on when an item was submitted, including initial registrations of an entity with the Commission. Said another way, the OCIE generally expects to address matters – particularly new registrations – in the order in which they were received.

The OCIE also will be communicating with registrants about rescheduling postponed examinations as well as completing in-progress examinations in the coming weeks, according to the division’s statement.

In addition, it notes that OCIE staff members are available to answer questions relating to examinations, filings and other federal securities law matters, but their response time may be longer than ordinary. It further suggests that if assistance is needed on an expedited basis, to submit a request to explaining the reason why you believe expedited treatment is necessary.

Division of Investment Management

Similarly, the Division of Investment Management (DIM) said it is resuming normal operations, but it anticipates addressing filings, exemptive and guidance requests based on when an item was amended or initially filed.

“In other words, absent compelling circumstances, we expect to address matters in the order in which they were received,” the office states. It further advises that if a filing or other request has become more urgent, to contact the relevant office, as detailed in the statement.

For questions concerning the status of a pending Investment Adviser Registration (Form ADV), the DIM says to contact OCIE. The agency further notes that the division is resuming responses to questions and guidance requests, including with respect to investment adviser interpretive issues, Form PF, accounting matters and general interpretive questions.

During the lapse in funding, DIM says it received a number of requests in each of its corresponding email in-boxes which the staff has yet to review. “Our response time for pending and new inquiries may be longer than ordinary. If such a request has become more urgent, please feel free to contact us again and include the reason why you believe expedited treatment is necessary. Otherwise, we will generally respond to requests in the order received,” the DIM explains.

In addition, the office notes that it is resuming normal review of filings by investment companies, including post-effective amendments, proxy statements and Form N-14 filings, but during the transition to normal operations, staff may require more time in delivering comments to registrants.