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By Ann C. Logue

After bursts of activity, we all need desk time in our schedules to go through email, catch up on errands, and figure out what to do next. That seems to be exactly what happened at the SEC this week. Investigators are probably busy going through the Pandora Papers to see if there are charges that can be brought in the United States, and everyone else is going working through their backlog.

Hence, this week’s press releases were mostly administrative. The big news for investment managers is that the commission has improved its filing fee structure. Effective January 31, 2022, forms and schedules will include information for calculation filing fees, structured to make it easier. Also, payments can now be made using Automated Clearing House (ACH), debit cards, or credit cards instead of paper checks and money orders. The committee was unanimous about this, bringing the SEC firmly into the 21st century.

The SEC also re-opened comments on amendments to the Dodd-Frank Act that address clawbacks of executive compensation. The goal is to increase the transparency of financial statements, while also maintaining accountability to shareholders.

Finally, the SEC announced another round of whistleblowers. One received $32 million, which is serious money. 

When the agency finally addresses the Pandora Papers, there are likely to be more whistleblowers involved, and the SEC often needs more information about technicalities and fact patterns before it can successfully pursue a case. Depending on what emerges, money managers can expect more know your customer and other anti-money laundering regulations to take effect. Many of those who found ways to evade taxes and anti-corruption rules were adamant that their records be kept only on paper, the more difficult to copy or hack. Now that the SEC is embracing modern technology, it’s possible that it will limit paper recordkeeping as a way to place more curbs on wrongdoing.

Until then, we will wait for the press releases.

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