Skip to main content

About the Office of FOIA Services

Dec. 2, 2015

The SEC’s FOIA program is centralized, meaning all FOIA requests filed with the SEC are processed by the Office of FOIA Services.  However, the SEC’s files are decentralized and maintained by various Divisions and Offices at headquarters and in Regional Offices throughout the country.  SEC’s diverse functions and the sensitive, high profile issues with which it deals, generate a large and increasing number of FOIA requests each year.

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(a) provides that any person has the right to request access to federal agency records.  All agencies of the United States government are required to disclose records upon receiving a written request for them, except for those records that are protected from disclosure by the nine exemptions and three exclusions of the FOIA.  This right of access is enforceable in court.

The Privacy Act of 1974, 5 U.S.C. 552a, establishes safeguards for the protection of records the Government collects and maintains on United States citizens and lawfully admitted permanent residents.

Records You Can Obtain

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) maintains public and non-public records. Public records, such as registration statements and reports filed by regulated companies and individuals, SEC decisions and releases, staff manuals, no-action and interpretive letters, and public comments on proposed rules, are available through the Electronic Reading Room.  Most public filings since 1995, SEC releases since September 1995, and other public records are also on the SEC’s website.

We will release records to the greatest extent possible, unless the records are protected by one of nine FOIA exemptions.  If we can reasonably segregate or delete exempt information from a requested record, we will release to you the rest of the record.  In addition to FOIA exemptions, there are three special protection provisions, referred to as record "exclusions."  The FOIA exclusions are reserved for certain specified circumstances.