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Practice Note: SEC proposes rule changes to ‘modernize’ administrative proceedings

The SEC proposed Thursday to change the way it conducts administrative proceedings by widening discovery for both parties and requiring pleadings to be handled and served more efficiently.

The agency is using internal procedures more these days instead of going to court to resolve securities law violations, including FCPA offenses.

“The proposed amendments seek to modernize our rules of practice for administrative proceedings, including provisions for additional time and prescribed discovery for the parties,” SEC chair Mary Jo White said.

The proposals include three main changes to the SEC’s Rules of Practice that:

  • Adjust the timing of administrative proceedings, including by extending the time before a hearing occurs in appropriate cases
  •     Permit parties to take depositions of witnesses as part of discovery
  •     Require parties in administrative proceedings to submit filings and serve each other electronically, and to redact certain sensitive personal information from those filings

The proposals include mechanics for the expanded deposition practice, such as location, methods of recording, forms of objections, and duties of the deposition officer. 

And the changes would simplify the requirements for seeking SEC review of an initial decision and make the timing of SEC decisions more transparent.

The SEC said it will seek public comment on the proposed amendments to its administrative proceedings.

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The SEC’s proposed amendments to its rules of practice, Release Nos. 34-75976 and 75977, File No. S7-18-15 (17 CFR Part 201) are here and here (pdf).

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Richard L. Cassin is the publisher and editor of the FCPA Blog. He can be contacted here.

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