SEC Chair Jay Clayton.

The Securities and Exchange Commission has resumed normal staffing levels and is returning to normal operations, but response times to questions will take longer than usual, the agency said.

SEC Chairman Jay Clayton said in a statement that the agency’s nearly 4,500 employees are now returning to their posts in Washington headquarters as well as the 11 regional offices, and that leaders of the agency’s divisions, in consultation with other staff members, “are continuing to assess how to most effectively transition to normal operations.”

During the shutdown, “with a limited staff, the SEC followed our Operations Plan Under a Lapse in Appropriations and Government Shutdown,” Clayton said. “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.”

The Division of Investment Management stated that staff 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,” IM stated.

The Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations, meanwhile, stated that in general, OCIE anticipates resuming exams, “including those that were in progress prior to, as well as those that were postponed during, the lapse in appropriations.”

OCIE staff also expects to address filings, submissions and requests for staff action “based on when an item was submitted, including initial registrations of an entity” with the commission.

New registrations, in particular, will be addressed in the order in which they were received, OCIE said.

Exam office staff members will be communicating with registrants about rescheduling postponed exams as well as completing in-progress exams in the coming weeks. They stated that while staff are available to answer questions relating to exams, filings and other federal securities law matters, “their response time may be longer than ordinary.”

— Check out DOL, SEC Fiduciary-Related Rules to Be a ‘Heavy Lift’: Attorney Choi on ThinkAdvisor.