SEC investment management director Dalia Blass. (Photo: Herb Pirone/IAA) SEC investment management director Dalia Blass. (Photo: Herb Perone/IAA)

The Securities and Exchange Commission on Wednesday issued exemptive relief to fund boards if they can’t get to their board meetings in light of the coronavirus.

“We had been increasingly hearing that there was some concern about travel restrictions and the inability of board members to travel and how that would impact upcoming board meetings,” Dalia Blass, director of the SEC’s Division of Investment Management, said Thursday at the Investment Adviser Association’s annual compliance conference in Washington.

The IM Division had issued no-action relief last year to the Independent Directors Council “that covered certain circumstances — emergency, unforeseen — circumstances and the renewal of advisory agreements, for example,” Blass continued. “We had heard under the current circumstances it could be broader circumstances that required relief. So we wanted to go out ahead of that and cover that.”

The relief, Blass said, extends to board meetings held from now to June 15, “but we also made it clear that should circumstances warrant, we would be looking at extending.”

The relief notice states that IM “is actively monitoring the current and potential effects of COVID-19” on investment advisors and funds.

“As a result of its outreach, the Division understands that fund boards may have upcoming meetings that were planned anticipating in-person attendance and that boards may be concerned about potential travel restrictions or the ability of directors to travel.”

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