SEC Mandates Electronic Filing of certain documents

About the Proposal

Not too long ago, SEC had proposed to modernize the filing of certain vital documents with the means of electronic filing systems. The proposal was passed to help the SEC keep up with the technological developments in the business world and adapt to an efficient filing process that will benefit filers, investors, and other interested parties. The proposal for the same was drafted to make the documents readable by machines and humans. 

SEC Mandates Electronic Filing:

Until recently, certain documents that were to be filed with the SEC could be submitted in a paper format. Rule 101(a) of the regulation S-T outline that the filings must be submitted to the SEC electronically, and 101(b) states that the documents need not necessarily be filed electronically. But the mandate will require more such documents to be filed electronically. 

The proposal outlined the forms that will adhere to the electronic filing mandate and its implications. Form 6-K, Applications for orders under the Advisers Act, Form 13F, Form ADV-NR, and the financial statements required by Form 11-K were to be filed using the electronic filing methods. You can read more about the SEC’s proposal here.

Finalizing the rule

Recently, the Securities and Exchange Commission unanimously voted to finalize rule amendments to mandate the electronic filing of certain documents that were earlier submitted via paper. 

Confidential treatment requests for Form 13F, applications under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 (Advisers Act), and Form ADV-NR. The first two will now be submitted to the SEC’s Electronic Data, Gathering, Analysis, and Retrieval (EDGAR) system. However, Form ADV-NR will be submitted to the SEC’s Investment Adviser Registration Depository (IARD) system.

The new filing system will improve the quality of the information reported on Form 13F, as the filers will now be required to provide additional identifying information and security identifiers for securities reported on the form and suggest other technical amendments to enhance the quality of data reported on the Forms.

Summary of the mandate

The SEC intends to provide an appropriate transition period for the rules to come into effect, after which the mandate will require electronic filing for the following documents:

1. Glossy Annual Reports or the Annual reports submitted to the security holders. 

2. Notices of exempt solicitation, exempt preliminary roll-up communication 

3. 11-K reports 

4. Form 6-K Reports 

5. Notices of the proposed sale of securities on Form 144 

6. Filings pursuant to the Investment company Act’s section 33. 

Allowing forms to be filed online is monumental in this day and age where we witness the greatness of digitization. With the rapid digitization of the world, filers need a simple and seamless system. Investors can also access the filings that are available online, thereby increasing the level of transparency. Filing forms using electronic means is highly advantageous compared to the traditional way of filing forms that involves paper. Disclosures are made more efficient, transparent, and operationally resilient, benefitting not just the filers but also the investors, the SEC, and any interested party. 

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