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U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission

Securities and Exchange Commission
Freedom of Information Act
Annual Report for the Fiscal Year Ending
September 30, 2003

October 1, 2002 to September 30, 2003

I. Basic Information Regarding this Report

  1. Questions concerning this report may be directed to:
    Celia Winter
    Freedom of Information/Privacy Act Officer
    Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)
    Operations Center
    6432 General Green Way, Mail Stop O-5
    Alexandria, VA 22312-2413
    (202) 942-4320
  2. This report is available on the SEC's Web site: http://www.sec.gov/foia/arfoia03.htm
  3. To obtain a copy of this report in paper form, send a letter to:
    Securities and Exchange Commission
    Publications Branch
    450 Fifth Street, NW
    Mail Stop C-11
    Washington, D.C. 20549

II. How to Make a FOIA Request

A copy of our publication "How to Make a FOIA Request" is available on the SEC's World Wide Web site at http://www.sec.gov/foia/howfo2.htm

  1. Address of office that receives FOIA requests:
    The FOIA/Privacy Act Office is centralized. FOIA requests are considered received by the SEC only when they reach the FOIA/PA Office (See 17 CFR § 200.80 (d) (9) (ii)). Written requests should be submitted to the FOIA/PA Officer by:
    e-mail: foia/pa@sec.gov
    fax:(703) 914-1149; or
    Operations Center
    6432 General Green Way, Mail Stop O-5
    Alexandria, VA 22312-2413

  2. Time Ranges of Responses:
    Response times range from 1 to 730 days, with an average response time of 180 days.
  3. Description of why some requests are not granted:
    Many requests received by the SEC are for investigatory records, consumer complaints, and nonpublic correspondence. Some of these requests were denied because the records related to on-going investigations (Exemption 7(A)), personal privacy (Exemptions 6 and 7(C)), and intra and inter-agency records (Exemption 5).

III. Definition of Terms and Acronyms

  1. Agency
    Securities and Exchange Commission — SEC
  2. Basic Terms
    1. Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request — a request for access to records concerning a third party, an organization, or a particular topic of interest.
    2. Privacy Act (PA) request — a request for records concerning oneself; such requests are usually processed under both the PA and the FOIA.
    3. The Government in the Sunshine Act (GITSA) — a request for access to transcripts of
    4. SEC open meetings.
    5. Confidential Treatment Request (CTR) — a request by or on behalf of the submitter of a record and/or information that the SEC withhold the material under one or more of the FOIA exemptions.
    6. Initial Request — a written request to the SEC for access to records under the FOIA, PA or GITSA.
    7. Appeal — a request to the SEC asking that the Office of General Counsel review a decision of the FOIA/PA Officer to fully or partially deny access to records under the FOIA or any other FOIA determination, such as a denial of a fee waiver or reduction.
    8. Processed Request or Appeal — a request or appeal for which the SEC has taken a final action on the request or appeal in all respects.
    9. Multi-track processing — a system in which requests requiring relatively minimal review are placed in one processing track and more voluminous requests are placed in other tracks.
    10. Expedited Processing — the SEC will process a FOIA request on an expedited basis when a requester has shown an exceptional need or urgency for the records which warrants prioritizing his or her request over other requests that were submitted earlier.
    11. Simple Request (Fast-Track) — a FOIA request that an agency using multi-track processing places in its fastest (non-expedited) track based on the volume and/or simplicity of records requested.
    12. Complex Request (First-in, First-out (FIFO)) — a FOIA request that an agency using multi-track processing places in a slower track based on the volume and/or complexity of records requested.
    13. Grant — a decision to disclose all records in full in response to a FOIA request.
    14. Partial Grant — a decision to disclose a record in part in response to a FOIA request because all the information in the requested records is determined by the SEC to be exempt under one or more of the FOIA's exemptions or a decision to disclose some records in their entirety, but to withhold others in whole or in part.
    15. Denial — a decision to withhold any part of a record or records in response to a FOIA request because all the information in the requested record is determined by the SEC to be exempt under one or more of the FOIA exemptions.
    16. Time Limits — the time period in the FOIA for an agency to respond to a FOIA request (ordinarily twenty working days from receipt of an initial FOIA request).
    17. "Perfected " request — a FOIA request for records which adequately describes the records sought, which has been received by the FOIA office of the agency or agency component in possession of the records, and for which there is no remaining question about the payment of applicable fees.
    18. Exemption 3 Statute — a separate federal statute specifically prohibiting the disclosure of certain types of information and authorizing it's withholding under FOIA Subsection (b) (3).
    19. Median Number — the middle, not average, number. For example, of 3, 7 and 14, the median number is 7.
    20. Days — working days, which exclude weekends and federal holidays.

IV. Exemption 3 Statutes

  1. List of Exemption 3 statutes relied on by the agency during the current fiscal year:
    • 15 U.S.C. § 80a-1
    • 15 U.S.C. § 80b-10(b)
    1. Brief description of the types of information withheld under each statute:
      • Investment Adviser Examination Records
    2. Statement of whether a court has upheld the use of each statute. N/A

V. Initial FOIA/PA Access Requests

A.Number of Requests
 1.Number of requests pending as of the end of the preceding fiscal year:821
 2.Number of requests received during current fiscal year:5,8001
 3.Number of requests processed during current fiscal year:3,481
 4.Number of requests pending as of end of current fiscal year:3,140
B.Disposition of Requests
 1.Number of total grants:765
 2.Number of partial grants:324
 3.Number of denials:467
  a.Number of times each FOIA exemption used
   Exemption 1:0
   Exemption 2:38
   Exemption 3:2
   Exemption 4:57
   Exemption 5:60
   Exemption 6:48
   Exemption 7(A):294
   Exemption 7(B):0
   Exemption 7(C):35
   Exemption 7(D):0
   Exemption 7(E):14
   Exemption 7(F):0
   Exemption 8:21
   Exemption 9:0
 4.Other reasons for nondisclosure (total)1,925
  a.no records:1,288
  c.request withdrawn:75
  d.fee-related reason:197
  e.records not reasonably described:38
  f.not a proper FOIA request for some other reason:17
  g.not an agency record:8
  h.duplicate request:37

VI. Appeals of Denials of FOIA/PA Requests


Number of appeals
 1.Number of appeals received during fiscal year:105
 2.Number of appeals processed during fiscal year:73
B.Disposition of appeals
 1.Number completely upheld:29
 2.Number partially reversed:10
 3.Number completely reversed:6
  a.Number of times each FOIA exemption used:
   Exemption 1:0
   Exemption 2:12
   Exemption 3:2
   Exemption 4:9
   Exemption 5:13
   Exemption 6:6
   Exemption 7(A):36
   Exemption 7(B):0
   Exemption 7(C):5
   Exemption 7(D):0
   Exemption 7(E):2
   Exemption 7(F):0
   Exemption 8:4
   Exemption 9:0
 4.Other reasons for nondisclosure (total):28
  a.no records:13
  c.request withdrawn:0
  d.fee related reason:1
  e.records not reasonably described:2
  f.not a proper FOIA request for some other reason:0
  g.not an agency record:0
  h.duplicate request:0

VII. Compliance with Time Limits of Pending Requests

A.Median processing times for requests processed during current year:
 1.Simple (Fast Track) Requests
  a:Number of requests processed:3,404
  b:Median number of days to process:152


Complex (FIFO) Requests
  a.Number of requests processed:66
  b.Median number of days to process:24


Requests afforded expedited processing:
  a.Number of request processed11
  b.Median number of days to process14
B.Status of Pending Requests:
 1.Number of requests pending as of end of current fiscal year:3,140
 2.Median number of days Simple (Fast-Track) requests were pending:26
 3.Median number of days Complex (FIFO) requests were pending:180

VIII. Comparison with Previous Years (optional): (Item D only reported)

D.Other statistics significant to components: Number of requests for expedited treatment received and processed: 11

IX. Cost/FOIA Staffing

A.Staffing levels
 1.Number of full time FOIA personnel:21.5
 2.Number of personnel with part-time or occasional FOIA duties: (in total work years)40
 3.Total number of personnel: full and part time/occasional61.5
B.Total cost
 1.Incremental costs incurred in administering the FOIA:$12,237,0004
 2.Litigation-related activities:$25,000
 3.Total costs:$12,262,000

X. Fees

A. Total amount of fees collected for processing requests:

The total amount of fees collected by the SEC for fiscal year 2003 is $306,097.70. This figure represents search and review costs only. The SEC uses a private company under contract with the agency to duplicate records that exceed twenty pages. The contractor charged the requesters or the SEC (when free copies were provided) 24 cents per page for copies. The rate schedule, attached as Exhibit A, is formulated annually on a direct cost basis as set out in Office of Management and Budget Guidelines.

B. Percentage of total cost: 2.496%

XI. FOIA Regulations

A copy of the SEC's FOIA regulations is available on our website at http://www.sec.gov/foia.shtml and 17 CFR § 200.80.


SEC FOIA and Privacy Act Regulations

17 CFR § 200.80 — Freedom of Information Act

17 CFR § 200.83 — Confidential Treatment Procedures under the FOIA


17 CFR § 200.301 — Purpose and Scope

17 CFR § 200.302 — Definitions

17 CFR § 200.303 — Requirements for making a request

17 CFR § 200.304 — Disclosure of requested records

17 CFR § 200.305 — Medical records

17 CFR § 200.306 — Amendments of corrections of records

17 CFR § 200.307 — Review of requests for amendments or corrections

17 CFR § 200.308 — Appeals

17 CFR § 200.309 — General Provisions

17 CFR § 200.310 — Fees

17 CFR § 200.311 — Penalties

17 CFR § 200.312 — Exemptions


1 Requests include 5,753 FOIA requests, 9 GITSA requests, and 38 PA requests.

2 Requests include 99 GLOMAR responses; 33 requests determined to be for public records, and therefore available through our Public Reference Branch; 34 requests were for frequently requested documents, and therefore available from our website; 2 requests were cancelled.

3 Requests include responses related to 10 Adequate Search, and 2 Confidential Treatment

4 In past reports, the only criteria used to gather information relating to personnel cost, was limited to the FOIA, PA, and Sunshine Act programs. The 2003 report includes all program objectives. As a result, there is a substantial increase in the personnel costs, totaling $11.9 million. Our EFOIA Software costs totaled $250,000.



Modified: 03/11/2004