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Filing Guidance and Confidentiality

Sept. 20, 2017

What Information Should I Provide?

We can best address your submission if we receive accurate, truthful, and complete information. Though you are not required to furnish any more information than you wish or possess, the critical information that we need to evaluate your tip includes:

  • Your full name and contact information, including mail and email addresses, and telephone numbers, although you may submit your tip anonymously if you choose;
  • Contact information for any individual or company you mention in the tip or complaint, including their full name, mail and email addresses, and telephone numbers;
  • A detailed description of the events or circumstances giving rise to your complaint – including who was involved in the conduct and how, why, and when the conduct occured; and
  • Any relevant documentation.

Any information you do provide must be truthful to the best of your knowledge or belief. A person who is found to have knowingly and willfully submitted false, fictitious, and/or fraudulent statements to the SEC may be subject to criminal sanctions under federal law.

What Happens After I Send Information to the SEC?

Staff evaluate information and tips concerning violations of the federal securities laws. It is the general policy of the SEC to conduct its investigations on a confidential basis to preserve the integrity of its investigative process as well as to protect persons against whom unfounded charges may be made or where the SEC determines that enforcement actin is not necessary or appropriate. Subject to the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act, the SEC cannot disclose the existence or non-existence of an investigation or any information gathered unless made a matter of public record in proceedings brought before the SEC or in the courts. Similarly, staff is generally unable to comment on any action the staff may take with respect to a tip or complaint. You can find information about public enforcement actions on our web site.

The information you provide may be used in the routine operations of the SEC, which include law enforcement, review of legislative and regulatory proposals, regulation of the securities markets, and review of reports and documents filed with the SEC. Specifically, the SEC may use the information obtained from this form in any administrative or civil proceeding in which it is a party, or in which any member of the SEC or its staff participates as a party. It may also provide the information to other state and federal agencies, and foreign authorities.

The SEC’s whistleblower program offers additional confidentiality protections to whistleblowers.  Please be aware that the enhanced confidentiality protections afforded to whistleblowers may in some cases limit or delay the SEC's ability to disclose your identity to certain other agencies, regulators or other third parties. If you are submitting your information in order to seek our assistance to resolve an issue with your broker or other financial professional, such as the processing of a trade or a question about your statement, rather than reporting a larger securities law violation, we will likely need to share your complaint, including your identity, with the broker or financial professional in order to assist you.  If this situation applies to you, you may wish to use the Investor Assistance questionnaire.

For information regarding the enhanced confidentiality protections offered under the SEC’s whistleblower program, please review the information about Whistleblower Awards and Protections.

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