As efforts to contain the COVID-19 virus expand worldwide, the SEC is remaining focused on maintaining a fair and orderly market and continuing its own operations. The Commission has transitioned most of its staff to work remotely and is conducting remote exams and enforcement. Some important steps the Commission is taking during this time are as follows:
- Monitoring the market and system risks- Measures are being taken to monitor market and system risks. The SEC is watching the trading, markets, and securities infrastructure; observing public companies for reporting challenges and any subsequently prompted disclosures; evaluating business continuity capabilities of key market participants and large financial firms; and looking at asset managers who are particularly susceptible to COVID-19 risks. The SEC is also reviewing macro trends and potential spillover effects from action taken in the government and private sectors and is coordinating response measures with other regulatory bodies worldwide.
- Providing relief and guidance on navigating regulatory requirements- The SEC is providing COVID-19 related relief for certain form filings, including Forms ADV, N-PORT, and N-CEN. The measures extend to regulatory relief around in-person board meeting requirements, as virtual board meetings will now be permitted.
- Protecting investors and critical market systems- The SEC is focused on keeping investors’ interests and safety a top priority. OCIE is fully operational and is conducting remote exams, as appropriate. The Commission is working to educate investors on COVID-19 scams and fraudulent behavior. Chairman of the SEC, Jay Clayton stated in an interview on March 16 that “markets should continue to function in times like this.” The SEC is working with critical market infrastructure to ensure business continuity practices align with health and safety measures.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR ME?
In this unique time, Fairview is committed to continuing to provide a high level of service and information to financial industry professionals. We will update you with the latest COVID-19-related news and how it may affect your firm, including in-depth information regarding regulatory relief provisions.
In the meantime, Fairview is available to answer questions about the SEC’s response to COVID-19 and best practices for business continuity and pandemic response.