1 1 (April 16, 2020)

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Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)

Actions to Mitigate the Impact of COVID-19

April 16, 2020
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has broad regulatory authority over significant
parts of the securities industry, including stock exchanges, mutual funds, investment advisers, bonds,
publicly traded companies, and brokerage firms. The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has affected
various areas within the SEC's regulatory ambit. This Insight highlights selected tools that the agency has
used to help mitigate those impacts.

Disclosure Relief
A foundational goal of federal securities laws is protecting investors, an objective significantly addressed
through required periodic disclosure of information by SEC-registered market participants and publicly
traded companies.
On March 25, 2020, the SEC issued guidance to publicly traded companies on the potential implications
of COVID-19 for their periodic mandatory SEC disclosures. The guidance indicated the agency was
continuing to monitor how companies are reporting the impact of COVID-1 9, including the challenges of
accurately forecasting the virus's likely effect on both their industry and themselves. Nonetheless, it noted
that it considered developments pertaining to COVID-19 to be material information that warranted
disclosure and that companies were obligated to address such business risks despite their uncertain and
evolving nature.
The aforementioned periodic public company disclosures are subject to certain SEC filing deadlines,
which could be disrupted by COVID-19. In response to such concerns, on March 4, 2020, the SEC gave
conditional regulatory relief to publicly traded companies for their mandatory disclosure reporting,
including Forms 10-K and 10-Q, annual and quarterly disclosures. Such filings were due between March
1 and April 30. Under the relief, firms have an additional 45 days to file.

Mitigating Market Volatility or Market Disruptions
In March 2020, the COVID-19 outbreak helped end the longest bull stock market in U.S. history, ushering
in a period of exceptional market volatility that has involved significant stock selloffs. Depending on the
severity of an intraday decline in the broad S&P 500 stock index (7%, 13%, or 20%), the SEC-sanctioned
                                                               Congressional Research Service

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