U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission
SEC Seal
Home | Previous Page
U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission

Freedom of Information Act
Annual Report for the Fiscal Year Ending
September 30, 2006
October 1, 2005 to September 30, 2006

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)
100 F Street, NE
Washington, DC 20549-5100

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, DC 20549
Email: publicinfo@sec.gov

II. How to make a FOIA Request

A copy of our publication "How to Make a FOIA Request" is available on the SEC web site: http://www.sec.gov/foia/howfo2.htm.

A. 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:

Email: foiapa@sec.gov
Fax: 202-772-9336 ; or
Mail: SEC FOIA/PA Office
100 F Street, NE
Room 5100
Washington, DC 20549

B. Time Ranges of Responses:

Response times range from 1 to 1033 with an average response time of 171 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

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

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.

V. Initial FOIA Requests

A. Number of Initial Requests
1.  Requests pending as of end of preceding year 9710
2.  Requests received during current FY 8961
3.  Requests processed during current FY 8268
4.  Requests pending as of end of current FY 10,403
B. Disposition of Initial Requests
1.  Number of total grants 2065
2.  Number of partial grants 181
3.  Number of denials 404
  Number of times each FOIA exemption used
  (b)(1)  national security 0
  (b)(2)  records related solely to internal rules and practices 31
  (b)(3)  law specifically exempts the material from disclosure 2
  (b)(4)  trade secrets and other confidential business information 71
  (b)(5)  deliberative process privilege, pre-decisional 49
  (b)(6)  information about individuals 73
  (b)(7)(A)  interference with law enforcement proceedings 564
  (b)(7)(B)  a person would be deprived of a fair trial 0
  (b)(7)(C)  unwarranted invasion of personal privacy 25
  (b)(7)(D)  confidential source 0
  (b)(7)(E)  techniques and procedures for law enforcement investigations 5
  (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) 5618
  a. No records found (appeal rights) 4593
  b. Referrals 472
  c. Requests Withdrawn 269
  d. Fee-related issues 141
  e. Records not reasonably described 10
  f. Not a proper FOIA request for some other reason 11
  g. Not an agency record 17
  h. Duplicate request 83
  i. Other: Records Lost or Destroyed 22

VI. Appeals of Initial Denials of FOIA Requests

A. Number of Appeals
1.  Number of appeals received during FY 420
2.  Number of appeals processed during FY 344
B. Disposition of Appeals
1.  Number completely upheld 179
2.  Number partially reversed 25
3.  Number completely reversed 25
  Number of times each FOIA exemption used
  (b)(1)  0
  (b)(2)  17
  (b)(3)  0
  (b)(4)  5
  (b)(5)  25
  (b)(6)  0
  (b)(7)(A)  165
  (b)(7)(B)  0
  (b)(7)(C)  27
  (b)(7)(D)  0
  (b)(7)(E)  0
  (b)(7)(F)  0
  (b)(8)  7
  (b)(9)  0
4.  Other reasons for nondisclosure: No information found 115

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 6809
  b. Median number of days to process 15
2.  Complex Requests
  a. Number of requests processed 1459
  b. Median number of days to process 706
3.  Requests accorded expedited processing
  a. Number of requests processed 0
  b. Median number of days to process 0
B. Status of Pending Requests
1.  Number of requests pending as of the end of FY 10,403
  a. Simple requests 7,433
  b. Complex requests 2,970
2.  Median number of days simple (fast-track) requests were pending 243
3.  Median number of days complex requests were pending 601

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: 0

IX. Costs/FOIA Staffing

A. Staffing levels
1.  Number of full-time FOIA personnel 26.8
2.  Number of personnel with part-time or occasional FOIA duties (in total work-years or FTEE) 13.1
3.  Total number of personnel (in total work-years or FTEE) 39.9
B. Total costs (including staff and all resources)
1.  FOIA processing (including appeals) $4,283,262
2.  Litigation-related activities $195,671
3.  Total costs $4,478,933

X. Fees

A. Total amount of fees collected by agency for processing requests $72,515
B. Percentage of total costs 1.6%

XI. FOIA Regulations

The SEC FOIA regulations, 17 CFR 200.80, are posted to the Commission website: http://www.sec.gov/foia.shtml.


SEC's FOIA Regulations

SEC Annual FOIA Reports to Congress

XII. Report on EXECUTIVE ORDER 13392 Implementation

A. Description of supplementation/modification of agency improvement plan (if applicable)

Not applicable.

B. Report on agency implementation of its plan, including its performance in meeting milestones, with respect to each improvement area.

The Commission met or exceeded all goals and milestones established in the report it submitted on June 14, 2006, and revised on October 13, 2006, in response to Executive Order 13392, that were to be completed for this reporting period.

In all improvement areas cited in the Program Action Plan, the accomplishments have exceeded the projected completion dates as well as the measured goals. Specifically, the backlog of FY 03 requests has been reduced by an additional 50% since October 2006; and the backlog of FY 04 requests has been reduced by 29% overall, exceeding the 15% quarterly reduction goal by February 1, 2007, as stated in Improvement Area No. 1 of the Action Plan.

The Commissions program of electronic dissemination of filing — related correspondence has increased the volume of information publicly available. The effect of this proactive disclosure of information is measured in the increased number of FOIA requests citing a disposition that indicates the requestor was referred to the SEC Public EDGAR website to obtain the requested records. (See item V.B.4. of this report). Referrals to the public website reported for FY 05 were 225, and for FY 06 were 472. Additionally, requests for this type of record in FY 2007, have decreased by approximately 15%.

The Commission has improved the use of available FOIA resources. FOIA training needs have been prioritized and materials updated. In October and December 2006, training was provided to those program areas where updated knowledge would provide the greatest results to FOIA processing via improved responses; response time; and reduced appeals. FOIA regulations are also under review with an emphasis on revising the fee schedule and providing updated instructions to those persons submitting Requests for Confidential Treatment under SEC Rule 83 (17 CFR 200.83) as well as submitting FOIA and Privacy Act requests.

C. Identification and discussion of any deficiency in meeting plan milestones (if applicable)

Not applicable.

D. Additional narrative statements regarding other executive order-related activities (optional)

E. Concise descriptions of FOIA exemptions:

The nine exemptions to the FOIA authorize federal agencies to withhold information covering: (1) classified national defense and foreign relations information; (2) internal agency rules and practices; (3) information that is prohibited from disclosure by another federal law; (4) trade secrets and other confidential business information; (5) inter-agency or intra-agency communications that are protected by legal privileges; (6) information involving matters of personal privacy; (7) records or information compiled for law enforcement purposes, to the extent that the production of those records (A) could reasonably be expected to interfere with enforcement proceedings, (B) would deprive a person of a right to a fair trial or an impartial adjudication, (C) could reasonably be expected to constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy, (D) could reasonably be expected to disclose the identity of a confidential source, (E) would disclose techniques and procedures for law enforcement investigations or prosecutions, or would disclose guidelines for law enforcement investigations or prosecutions, or (F) could reasonably be expected to endanger the life or physical safety of any individual; (8) information relating to the supervision of financial institutions; and (9) geological information on wells.

F. Additional statistics

  1. Time range of requests pending, by date of request (or, where applicable, by date of referral from another agency):
    October 4, 2002 to January 31, 2007
  2. Time range of consultations pending with other agencies at this time:
    No FOIA consultations with other agencies occurred during FY 06.

G. Attachment: Agency improvement plan:




Modified: 02/08/2007