Investigations by the Securities and Exchange Commission
Jan. 19, 2012
Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) investigations are conducted confidentially to protect evidence and reputations. Important documents could be destroyed if an investigation is publicly announced, so confidential treatment may help to preserve key evidence in a case. A confidential process also protects the reputations of companies and individuals where the SEC finds no wrongdoing by the firm or the individuals that were the subject of the investigation. As a result, the SEC generally will not confirm or deny the existence of an investigation unless and until it becomes a matter of public record.
An investigation becomes public when the SEC files an action in court or through an administrative proceeding. The SEC website contains information about public enforcement actions. For additional information on how SEC investigations work, please see the following bulletin by the SEC’s Office of Public Affairs.