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U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission

Freedom of Information Act
Annual Report for the Fiscal Year Ending
September 30, 2005
October 1, 2004 to September 30, 2005

I. Basic Information Regarding Report

A. 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) 551-8307

B. This report is available on the SEC’s Web site:


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

Securities and Exchange Commission
Publications Branch
100 F Street, NE
Room 1580
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.

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:

fax:(703)914-1149 ; or
Mail:SEC FOIA/PA Office
Operations Center
6432 General Green Way, Mail Stop O-5
Alexandria, VA 22312-2413

b. Time Ranges of Responses:

Response times range from 1 to 802 days, with an average response time of 142 days.

c. 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 are denied because the records relate 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

A. Agency:

Securities and Exchange Commission – SEC

B. 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 ones self; 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

A. List of Exemption 3 statutes relied on by the agency during the current fiscal year:

Statute CodeCourt upheldConcise Description of material withheld
15 U.S.C. 80a-30(c)N/AInvestment Company Examination Records.
15 U.S.C. 80b-10(b)N/AInvestment Advisors examination Records.

V. Initial FOIA Requests

A. Number of Initial Requests
1. Requests pending as of end of preceding year 84061
2. Requests received during current FY 8726
3. Requests processed during current FY 7422
4. Requests pending as of end of current FY 9710
B. Disposition of Initial Requests
1. Number of total grants 1898
2. Number of partial grants 294
3. Number of denials 644
 Number of times each FOIA exemption used
 (b)(1)  national security0
 (b)(2)  records related solely to internal rules and practices54
 (b)(3)  law specifically exempts the material from disclosure10
 (b)(4)  trade secrets and other confidential business information75
 (b)(5)  deliberative process privilege, pre-decisional103
 (b)(6)  information about individuals 95
 (b)(7)(A)  interference with law enforcement proceedings564
 (b)(7)(B)  a person would be deprived of a fair trial0
 (b)(7)(C)  unwarranted invasion of personal privacy64
 (b)(7)(D)  confidential source 0
 (b)(7)(E)  techniques and procedures for law enforcement investigations17
 (b)(7)(F)  endangering the safety or life of any individual0
 (b)(8)  examination of banks and other financial institutions40
 (b)(9)  geological and geophysical information 0
4. Other reasons for non-disclosure (total)4586
 a. No records found (appeal rights)3175
 b. Referrals225
 c. Requests Withdrawn859
 d. Fee-related issues207
 e. Records not reasonably described23
 f. Not a proper FOIA request for some other reason20
 g. Not an agency record5
 h. Duplicate request72
 i. Other0

1 This number is reduced from the 8635 requests reported pending at the end of FY 04 due to a review and correction of the FOIA database eliminating duplicate, test, and erroneous entries.

VI. Appeals of Initial Denials of FOIA Requests

A. Number of Appeals
1. Number of appeals received during FY 348
2. Number of appeals processed during FY 244
B. Disposition of Appeals
1. Number completely upheld 201
2. Number partially reversed 15
3. Number completely reversed 28
 Number of times each FOIA exemption used
 (b)(1)  0
 (b)(2)  15
 (b)(3)  1
 (b)(4)  10
 (b)(5)  25
 (b)(6)  10
 (b)(7)(A)  164
 (b)(7)(B)  0
 (b)(7)(C)  12
 (b)(7)(D)  0
 (b)(7)(E)  0
 (b)(7)(F)  0
 (b)(8)  7
 (b)(9)  0
4. Other reasons for nondisclosure (total) 0

VII. Compliance with Time Limits/Status of Pending Requests

A. Median Processing Time for Requests Processed during the current Year
1. Simple Requests
 a. Number of requests processed 6322 
 b. Median number of days to process 26 
2. Complex Requests
 a. Number of requests processed 1099
 b. Median number of days to process 410
3. Requests accorded expedited processing
 a. Number of requests processed 1
 b. Median number of days to process 14
B. Status of Pending Requests
1. Number of requests pending as of the end of FY 9710 
 a. Simple requests 5334 
 b. Complex requests 4376 
2. Median number of days simple (fast-track) requests were pending 235 
3. Median number of days complex requests were pending 507

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: 1

IX. Costs/FOIA Staffing

A. Staffing levels
1. Number of full-time FOIA personnel 26 
2. Number of personnel with part-time or occasional FOIA duties (in total work-years) 10.12 
3. Total number of personnel in (work-years) 36.1 
B. Total costs (including staff and all resources)
1. FOIA processing (including appeals) $3,835,658
2. Litigation-related activities $118,522
3. Total costs $3,954,180

2 This number is more accurate than numbers reported in prior years. Improved workload measurement enables reporting in total work years or FTEE, rather than in total number of individuals.

X. Fees

A. Total amount of fees collected by agency for processing requests $63,430.69 
B. Percentage of total costs 1.6%

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.


SEC's FOIA Regulations

SEC Annual FOIA Reports to Congress



Modified: 02/17/2006