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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, 2004

October 1, 2003 to September 30, 2004

I. Basic Information Regarding Report

  1. Questions concerning this report may be directed to:
     
  2. 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) 551-8307

  3. This report is available on the SEC's Web site:
     
  4. http://www.sec.gov/foia/arfoia04.htm

  5. To obtain a copy of this report in paper form, send a letter to:
     
  6. 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:
     
  2. 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:

    Email:

    foiapa@sec.gov

    Fax:

    (703)914-1149; or

    Mail:

    SEC
    Operations Center
    6432 General Green Way, Mail Stop O-5
    Alexandria, VA 22312-2413

  3. Time Ranges of Responses:
     
  4. Response times range from 1 to 989 days, with an average response time of 115 days.

  5. Description of why some requests are not granted:
     
  6. 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. Definitions of Terms and Acronyms Used in the Report

  1. Agency:
     
  2. Securities and Exchange Commission - SEC

  3. Basic terms:
     
    1. FOIA/PA request - Freedom of Information Act/Privacy Act request. A FOIA request is generally a request for access to records concerning a third party, an organization, or a particular topic of interest. A Privacy Act request is a request for records concerning oneself; such requests are also treated as FOIA requests.
       
    2. The Government in the Sunshine Act (GITSA) - A request for access to transcripts of SEC open meetings.
       
    3. Confidential Treatment Request (CTR) - a request by or on behalf of the submitter of a record and/or information that the SEC withholds the material under one or more of the FOIA exemptions.
       
    4. Initial request - a request to a federal agency for access to records under the Freedom of Information Act.
       
    5. Appeal - a request to a federal agency asking that it review at a higher administrative level a full denial or partial denial of access to records under Freedom of Information Act, or any other FOIA determination such as a matter pertaining to fees.
       
    6. Processed Request or Appeal - a request or appeal for which an agency has taken a final action on the request or the appeal in all respects.
       
    7. Multi-track processing - a system in which simple requests requiring relatively minimal review are placed in one processing track and more voluminous and complex requests are placed in one or more other tracks. Requests in each track are processed on a first-in/first-out basis. A requester who has an urgent need for records may request expedited processing (see below).
       
    8. Expedited processing - an agency will process a FOIA request on an expedited basis when a requester has shown an exceptional need or urgency for the records which warrants prioritization of his or her request over other requests that were made earlier.
       
    9. Simple request - 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.
       
    10. Complex request - 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.
       
    11. Grant - an agency decision to disclose all records in full response to a FOIA request.
       
    12. Partial grant - an agency decision to disclose a record in part in response to a FOIA request, deleting information determined to be exempt under one or more of the FOIA exemptions; or a decision to disclose some records in their entirety, but to withhold others in whole or in part.
       
    13. Denial - an agency decision not to release any part of a record or records in response to a FOIA request because all the information in the requested records is determined by the agency to be exempt under one or more of the FOIA exemptions, or for some procedural reason (such as because no record is located in response to a FOIA request).
       
    14. Time limits - the time period in the Freedom of Information Act for an agency to respond to a FOIA request (ordinarily 20 working days from proper receipt of a Perfected FOIA request).
       
    15. "Perfected" request - a FOIA request for records that adequately describes the records sought, which has been received by the FOIA office of each agency or agency component in possession of the records, and for which there is no remaining question about the payment of applicable fees.
       
    16. Exemption 3 statute - a separate federal statute prohibiting the disclosure of a certain type of information and authorizing its withholding under FOIA subsection (b) (3).
       
    17. Median number - the middle, not average number. For example, of 3, 7, and 14, the median number is 7.
       
    18. 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:
     
  2. Statute Code

    Court upheld

    Concise Description of material withheld

    15 U.S.C. 80a-30(c)

    N/A

    Investment Company Examination Records.

    15 U.S.C. 80b-10(b)

    N/A

    Investment Advisors examination Records.

    41 U.S.C. 423(d)

    N/A

    Proprietary or source selection information regarding agency procurement of property or services.

V. Initial FOIA Requests

  1. Number of Initial Requests
     
  2. 1. Requests pending as of end of preceding year

    3140

    2. Requests received during current FY

    9325

    3. Requests processed during current FY

    3830

    4. Requests pending as of end of current FY

    8635


  3. Disposition of Initial Requests
     
  4. 1. Number of total grants

    1080

    2. Number of partial grants

    209

    3. Number of denials

    499

      a. Number of times each FOIA exemption used

     

      (b)(1) national security

    0

      (b)(2) records related solely to internal rules and practices

    29

      (b)(3) law specifically exempts the material from disclosure

    9

      (b)(4) trade secrets and other confidential business
      information

    67

      (b)(5) deliberative process privilege, pre-decisional

    56

      (b)(6) information about individuals

    53

      (b)(7)(A) interference with law enforcement proceedings

    496

      (b)(7)(B) a person would be deprived of a fair trial

    0

      (b)(7)(C) unwarranted invasion of personal privacy

    29

      (b)(7)(D) confidential source

    0

      (b)(7)(E) techniques and procedures for law enforcement
      investigations

    6

      (b)(7)(F) endangering the safety or life of any individual

    0

      (b)(8) examination of banks and other financial institutions

    33

      (b)(9) geological and geophysical information

    0

    4. Other reasons for non-disclosure (total)

    2042

      a. No records found (appeal rights)

    1562

      b. Referrals

    117

      c. Requests Withdrawn

    154

      d. Fee-related issues

    128

      e. Records not reasonably described

    36

      f. Not a proper FOIA request for some other reason

    33

      g. Not an agency record

    9

      h. Duplicate request

    1

      i. Other (Records lost or destroyed)

    2

VI. Appeals of Initial Denials of FOIA Requests

  1. Number of Appeals
     
  2. 1. Number of appeals received during FY

    229

    2. Number of appeals processed during FY

    202


  3. Disposition of Appeals
     
  4. 1. Number completely upheld

    126

    2. Number partially reversed

    34

    3. Number completely reversed

    39

      a. Number of times each FOIA exemption used

     

      (b)(1)

    0

      (b)(2)

    5

      (b)(3)

    1

      (b)(4)

    5

      (b)(5)

    8

      (b)(6)

    4

      (b)(7)(A)

    96

      (b)(7)(B)

    0

      (b)(7)(C)

    5

      (b)(7)(D)

    0

      (b)(7)(E)

    1

      (b)(7)(F)

    0

      (b)(7)(F)

    6

      (b)(9)

    0

    4. Other reasons for nondisclosure (total)

      a. No records found (appeal rights)

    0

      b. Referrals

    0

      c. Request withdrawn

    2

      d. Fee-related reason

    0

      e. Records not reasonably described

    0

      f. Not a proper FOIA Request for some other reason

    0

      g. Not an agency record

    1

      h. Duplicate Request

    0

      i. Others

    0

VII. Compliance with Time Limits/Status of Pending Requests

  1. Median Processing Time for Requests Processed during the current Year
     
  2. 1. Simple Requests

    3401

      a. Number of requests processed

    3401

      b. Median number of days to process

    30

    2. Complex Requests

    419

      a. Number of requests processed

    419

      b. Median number of days to process

    202

    3. Requests accorded expedited processing

     

      a. Number of requests processed

    10

      b. Median number of days to process

    8


  3. Status of Pending Requests
     
  4. 1. Number of requests pending as of the end of FY

    8635

      a. Simple requests

    3802

      b. Complex requests

    4833

    2. Median number of days simple (fast-track) requests were pending

    259

    3. Median number of days complex (FIFO) requests were pending

    191

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

D. Other statistics significant to components:

Number of requests for expedited treatment received and granted:

10

The SEC has experienced significant increases in FOIA requests over the past two years due to renewed public awareness and attention to the securities markets. The dramatic 40% increase in requests during FY 04 was due to commercial requestors responding to market demand for information. Particular commercial users file voluminous FOIA requests and post the information received on commercial websites, which are supported by user subscriptions. The significant increase in FOIA requests is wholly due to a small group of commercial users.

IX. Costs/FOIA Staffing

  1. Staffing levels
     

  2. 1. Number of full-time FOIA personnel

    23.5

    2. Number of personnel with part-time or occasional FOIA duties(in total work-years)

    40

    3. Total number of personnel in(work-years)

    63.5


  3. Total costs (including staff and all resources)
     

  4. 1. FOIA processing(including appeals)

    $2,564,726.00

    2. Litigation-related activities(estimated)

    $663.00

    3. Total costs

    $2,565,389.00

X. Fees

  1. Total amount of fees collected by agency for processing requests: $83,059
     
  2. Percentage of total costs: 3.23%
     

XI. FOIA Regulations

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

Attachment:


http://www.sec.gov/foia/arfoia04.htm


Modified: 03/09/2005