SEC ANNOUNCES ASSISTANCE TO KATRINA VICTIMS
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Washington, D.C., Sept. 2, 2005 - Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Christopher Cox has mobilized the agency's resources to provide emergency regulatory relief to investors, companies and securities firms affected by Hurricane Katrina.
"In the face of such desperate conditions, we've got to do everything humanly possible to help our fellow citizens. No one in the region should have to worry about attempting to file government documents in near-impossible circumstances," Chairman Cox said. "We are working to get information from law and accounting firms with offices in the region, and we will soon publish a notice extending the filing deadlines for those affected by the disaster. We are also working to ensure that individuals and families who suddenly find themselves in desperate financial circumstances have access to representatives of securities firms that hold their assets."
The SEC Divisions and Offices that oversee publicly traded companies, accountants, mutual funds, brokerage firms and transfer agents, among others, are preparing relief measures that will include extensions of filing deadlines and suspension of requirements to deliver documents to hurricane-affected areas. The relief will also enable broker-dealers to provide access to accounts held at offices that are no longer operable. The Commission is also working with banking agencies and self regulatory organizations as appropriate.
The Commission has established both telephone and e-mail hotlines to provide immediate responses to questions or to hear from those that want to advise the Commission of their needs.
- Telephone calls should be directed to (202) 551-3300.
- E-mail should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org
The SEC also plans to consult with public companies based in the disaster area, to ensure that Commission mandates do not interfere with response and recovery. The Commission will continue to assess the impact of the hurricane on shareholders, customers, employees and the capital markets and take all necessary steps to assist in the recovery.
To prevent additional hardship for Katrina's victims, the Division of Enforcement is on the lookout for Katrina-related securities scams and will vigorously prosecute those who attempt to take advantage of this tragedy to defraud already desperate victims. The Commission is asking investors who believe they may have been targets of such schemes to forward suspicious solicitations to email@example.com.
For individuals experiencing account access problems or other concerns, the SEC Office of Investor Education and Assistance has established a toll-free number: 1-800 SEC-0330. Persons affected by Katrina who have questions or comments can also contact the Commission by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.