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U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission

Securities and Exchange Commission
Freedom of Information Act
Annual Report for Fiscal Year 2007
October 1, 2006 to September 30, 2007

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:

http://www.sec.gov/foia/arfoia07.htm

C. To obtain a copy of this report in paper form, send a letter or e-mail 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 Commission’s 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)(1) and (9)). Written requests should be submitted to the FOIA/PA Officer at:

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

B. Time ranges of responses:

Response times range from 1 day to 1096 days with an average response time of 346 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 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. 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 FY 10,403
2.  Requests received during current FY 9,070
3.  Requests processed during current FY 12,564
4.  Requests pending as of end of current FY 6,909
B. Disposition of Initial Requests
1.  Number of total grants 5691
2.  Number of partial grants 187
3.  Number of denials 577
  Number of times each FOIA exemption used
  (b)(1)  national security 0
  (b)(2)  records related solely to internal rules and practices 47
  (b)(3)  law specifically exempts the material from disclosure 1
  (b)(4)  trade secrets and other confidential business information 132
  (b)(5)  deliberative process privilege, pre-decisional 46
  (b)(6)  information about individuals 70
  (b)(7)(A)  interference with law enforcement proceedings 518
  (b)(7)(B)  a person would be deprived of a fair trial 0
  (b)(7)(C)  unwarranted invasion of personal privacy 34
  (b)(7)(D)  confidential source 0
  (b)(7)(E)  techniques and procedures for law enforcement investigations 0
  (b)(7)(F)  endangering the safety or life of any individual 0
  (b)(8)  examination of banks and other financial institutions 17
  (b)(9)  geological and geophysical information 0
4.  Other reasons for non-disclosure (total) 6109
  a. No records found (appeal rights) 4294
  b. Referrals 766
  c. Requests Withdrawn 985
  d. Fee-related issues 26
  e. Records not reasonably described 4
  f. Not a proper FOIA request for some other reason 4
  g. Not an agency record 3
  h. Duplicate request 23
  i. Other: Records Lost or Destroyed 4

VI. Appeals of Initial Denials of FOIA Requests

A. Number of Appeals
1.  Number of appeals received during FY 143
2.  Number of appeals processed during FY 207
B. Disposition of Appeals
1.  Number completely upheld 104
2.  Number partially reversed 27
3.  Number completely reversed 29
  Number of times each FOIA exemption used
  (b)(1) 0
  (b)(2) 2
  (b)(3) 0
  (b)(4) 7
  (b)(5) 6
  (b)(6) 6
  (b)(7)(A) 135
  (b)(7)(B) 0
  (b)(7)(C) 4
  (b)(7)(D) 0
  (b)(7)(E) 0
  (b)(7)(F) 0
  (b)(8) 0
  (b)(9) 0
4.  Other reasons for nondisclosure: 47
  a. No records found 30
  b. Referred to the Web 1
  c. Request Withdrawn 5
  d. Fee-related 4
  e. Not an agency record 1
  f. Other: Moot 6

VII. Compliance with Time Limits/Status of Pending Requests

A. Median Processing Time for Requests Processed during the FY
1.  Simple Requests
  a. Number of requests processed 9652
  b. Median number of days to process 67
2.  Complex Requests
  a. Number of requests processed 2912
  b. Median number of days to process 705
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 6909
  a. Simple requests 6297
  b. Complex requests 612
2.  Median number of days simple requests were pending 365
3.  Median number of days complex requests were pending 671

VIII. Comparison with Previous Years (Optional): (Item D only reported)

D. Number of requests for expedited treatment received and granted: 0

IX. Costs/FOIA Staffing

A. Staffing levels
1.  Number of full-time FOIA personnel 28.0
2.  Number of personnel with part-time or occasional FOIA duties (in total work-years or FTEE) 3.81
3.  Total number of personnel (in total work-years or FTEE) 31.81
B. Total costs (including staff and all resources)
1.  FOIA processing (including appeals) 3,509,418
2.  Litigation-related activities 275,921
3.  Total costs 3,785,339

X. Fees

A. Total amount of fees collected by agency for processing requests 140,106
B. Percentage of total costs 3.70

XI. FOIA Regulations

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

Attachments:

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)

The Agency Improvement Plan, as revised on October 13, 2006, has been modified to reflect a change in the designation of Chief FOIA Officer. The new Chief FOIA Officer is Kristin J. Kaepplein, Director, SEC Office of Investor Education and Advocacy.

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

During FY 07, the Commission continued to focus on improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the FOIA process. The performance measurements in this annual report reflect tangible results of ongoing business process improvements and staff commitment to the original improvement areas identified: backlog reduction, proactive disclosure and improved internal resources.

The Commission has exceeded all goals and milestones established in the Program Action Plan dated October 13, 2006 for backlog reduction. The backlog reduction which took place in FY 07 encompassed the largest SEC prior fiscal year backlog (FY 03 – 06) totaling 10,403 requests. In addition, 9,070 new requests were received for a total of 19,473 requests. The Commission completed 12,564 FOIA requests or 64.5% of the total workload for FY 07. The number of requests pending at the end of FY 07 (6909) is the lowest pending workload for the past four fiscal years. All backlogged requests from FY 03 and 04 were completed; the FY 05 backlog was 99% completed; and the FY 06 backlog was 76% complete as of September 30, 2007. The Commission has substantially completed the goal of its FY 07/08 program to eliminate the FY 03-06 backlog. The FOIA Office is on track to eliminate the remaining FY 05 and FY06 backlog in FY 08.

The Commission’s program of electronic dissemination of filing-related correspondence has increased the volume of information publicly available. The Commission posted correspondence related to 4,428 filings during FY 07. The effect of this proactive disclosure is measured by the increased number of FOIA requests citing a disposition wherein the requestor is referred to the SEC Public EDGAR website to view the requested records. (See item V.B.4. of this report). Referrals to the public website reported for FY 05 were 225, for FY 06 were 472, and for FY 07 were 766. New requests for this type of record in FY 07 were significantly reduced.

The Commission improved the use of available internal resources. Electronic FOIA tracking software enables monitoring and analysis of the type of requests received and the effectiveness of the business process in responding to them. We have identified and implemented improvements which minimize response time where responsive records are quickly located, allowing more resources for complex requests. The Commission’s FY 07 cost to process FOIA requests was lower than prior years, however, productivity improved. In FY 05, 205 requests were processed per capita; in FY 06, 207 requests were processed per capita; and in FY 07, 395 requests were processed per capita. Staff productivity improved by almost 91% in FY 07.

Finally, the Commission contacted frequent requestors to better understand their FOIA needs and discuss means of providing faster and more useful responses. As a result, most requestors improved the terms and scope of their future requests, while others reviewed their backlog and withdrew hundreds of requests for records they no longer required.

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

  1. FOIA Improvement Plan area to which the deficient milestone relates.
    Improve internal resources.
     
  2. Deficient milestone and the original target date from the FOIA Improvement Plan.
    In the SEC’s Report under the Executive Order, the Commission indicated that by July 31, 2007, it expected to publish and make effective, updates and revisions to its FOIA implementing regulations.
     
  3. Steps take to correct the deficiency and the dates by which the steps were completed.
    All FOIA policies, procedures and regulations received a preliminary review during FY 07 and were prioritized for revision. In anticipation of FOIA legislation, the regulation revision was deferred and resources re-directed to revising internal guidance.
     
  4. Future remedial steps and the dates by which the steps will be completed.
    The Commission anticipates a full review and revision of its FOIA regulations by December 31, 2008, incorporating the amendments passed in the “Openness Promotes Effectiveness in our National Government Act of 2007,” Pub. L. 110-175 (December 31, 2007.)

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. Ten Oldest Pending FOIA Requests as of January 1, 2008:

Calendar year20002001200220032004200520062007
Request Received Dates     Nov 2 March 28
August 1
August 3
Sept 14
Oct 3
Oct 3
Oct 4
Oct 4
Oct 4
  

2. Consultations:

a) Number of Consultations Received, Processed, and Pending:

Consultations Received From Other Agencies During FY 07 Consultations Received from Other Agencies That Were Processed by your Agency During FY 07 (includes those received prior to FY 07) Consultations Received From Other Agencies That Were Pending at Your Agency as of October 1, 2007 (includes those received prior to FY 07)
000

b) Ten Oldest Pending Consultations Received from Other Agencies as of January 1, 2008:

Calendar Year199920002001200220032004200520062007
Consults Received000000000

G. Attachment: Agency improvement plan in current version:

http://www.sec.gov/foia/foiaactionplan.pdf

 

http://www.sec.gov/foia/arfoia07.htm


Modified: 02/28/2008