For the first time since the SEC created the Division of Enforcement in 1972 to consolidate enforcement activities that previously had been handled by the various operating divisions at the Commission’s headquarters, the agency has published a document containing the internal policies and procedures that SEC staff must follow when conducting investigations.
According to Bowne’s SEC and Edgar Monitor, there are several noteworthy sections:

  • Witness Assurance Letters – Provides witnesses offering testimony with assurance that no SEC action will be taken against them.  Prior, the SEC was required to obtain the written approval of the Department of Justice to grant such assurances.

  • Ranking Investigations and Allocating Resources – Describes the internal procedures in place at the SEC to manage open investigations and allocate resources.

  • External Communications Between Senior Enforcement Officials and Persons Outside the SEC Who Are Involved in Investigations – Adoption of internal best practices on communications between senior officials and non-SEC persons concerning an ongoing investigation.

  • Termination Notices – Explains notification procedures about the conclusion of an investigation with no action taken.

While most of us will never be involved in an SEC investigation, it is good to know we now have more insight into exactly what to expect should such a situation arise.


Laurie Berman, Senior Vice President,