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SEC to Update Electronic Filing Requirements

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What You Need to Know

  • Commissioners unanimously approved the amendments which are subject to 30 days of public comment.
  • SEC Chairman Gary Gensler said the changes will increase the efficiency the filing process for filers and investors.
  • Electronic filings will be easily accessible to the public and easily searchable, according to the SEC.

The Securities and Exchange Commission plans to expand its electronic filing requirements in order “to modernize and increase the efficiency of the filing process for filers, investors or  other interested parties,” according to a statement from Chairman Gary Gensler.

“Just as we are hoping to update our rules for market participants in the face of rapidly changing technology, it’s also important that we update our rules to make filing obligations more efficient,” said Gensler.

The proposed amendments, which were approved unanimously by the commission on Thursday, are subject to 30-days of public comment after publication in the Federal Register. They apply to:

  • Applications for orders under the Advisers Act, which regulates the responsibilities of an investment adviser;
  • Certification that a security has been approved by an exchange for listing and registration under  Section 12(d) of the Exchange Act and Exchange Act Rule 12d1-3;
  • “Glossy” annual reports, which must  be submitted in PDF format;
  • Confidential treatment requests for Form 13-F filings, which report quarterly holdings of investment managers; and
  • Form ADV-NR, used by non-resident general partners and non-resident managing agents of investment advisers, which must be filed through the Investment Adviser Registration Depository (IARD) system, which FINRA developed and operates.

The proposal also mandates that electronic submissions of Form 11-K — the form that public companies complete when reporting company stock purchases by employees and in-house savings plans — use eXtensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL), which allows instantaneous  conversion of the data into a spreadsheet program.

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According to the SEC press release, all these amendments “are intended to promote efficiency, transparency, and operational resiliency by modernizing the manner in which information is submitted to the Commission and disclosed.”

The electronic submissions would be easily accessible to the public and easily searchable, ” which benefits both investors and the broader public,” the regulatory group said.