Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request
Upon Written Request, Copies Available From: Securities and Exchange Commission, Office of Filings and Information Services, Washington, DC 20549.
SEC Investor Complaint Forms, SEC File No. 270-485, OMB Control No. 3235-new.
Notice is hereby given that, pursuant to the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501et seq.), the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) has submitted to the Office of Management and Budget a request for approval of three proposed forms. The titles of the forms are SEC Investor Complaint Form (two versions) and SEC Investor Question Form.
The SEC receives annually over 150,000 letters, e-mails, faxes, and phone calls from investors who have complaints and questions on a wide range of investment-related issues. The SEC proposes to place on its website two online forms, and to make available a hard-copy complaint form, to be used by investors to submit complaints and questions to the SEC through the Internet, by mail, or by fax. The SEC will use the information supplied on the forms to respond to general investor queries, process investor complaints, or initiate enforcement investigations in appropriate matters. The information that is captured automatically in the online forms and through manual data entry of the hard-copy form will allow the SEC to employ automation to direct a complaint or question to the appropriate division or office at the SEC (primarily the Division of Enforcement or the Office of Investor Education and Assistance) for review and processing, to maintain a record of the complaint or question, and to track the volume of complaints and questions received. Investors are not required to use the online or hard-copy Investor Complaint Form or the Investor Question Form and may continue to submit written complaints and questions by letter (sent by mail or fax), e-mail messages, and telephone calls. However, investors who complete the forms enable the SEC to process their complaints and questions more quickly and efficiently.
The respondents to the Investor Complaint Forms and the Investor Question Form will be investors who want the SEC's assistance with their complaints against entities that the SEC regulates, who want to report companies or individuals who may be violating the federal securities laws, or who want to ask questions or request information about the statutes and rules the SEC administers or about specific companies the SEC regulates.
Investors will use the Investor Complaint Forms to send complaints to the SEC about entities that are regulated by the SEC, about issuers of securities, and about individuals and companies whose activities may violate the federal securities laws. Investors who submit the Investor Complaint Forms are asked to provide information on, among other things, their names, how they can be contacted, the names of the financial institutions, companies, or individuals they are complaining about, the nature of their complaints, what documents can be provided, and what legal actions they have taken. The online version asks for general information about the investor's complaint and then poses follow-up questions based on previous answers. Most questions on the Investor Complaint Forms are asked in a multiple-choice style that allows the investor to provide an answer simply by checking a box. Some questions require the investor to provide more detailed full-text responses about the facts of his complaint.
Investors will use the Investor Question Form to ask general questions about the SEC's programs, rules, and other matters that are not appropriate for the Investor Complaint Form.
Investors who submit the Investor Question Form are asked to provide their names, how they can be contacted, and their questions.
The total reporting burden of using the Investor Complaint Forms or Investor Question Form is estimated to 23,750 hours. This was calculated by multiplying the total number of investors whom the SEC expects to use the forms times how long it will take to complete each form (95,000 respondents × 15 minutes = 23,750 burden hours).
Use of the Investor Complaint and Question Forms is voluntary. The SEC will continue to accept questions and complaints submitted in letters (sent by mail or fax), e-mail messages, and telephone calls. However, if an investor chooses to submit an Investor Complaint Form or Investor Question Form through the Internet, the investor must respond to certain questions about the nature of the complaint or the form will not be accepted electronically.
Responses to the Investor Complaint or Investor Question Forms are subject to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), which generally allows the SEC to make information available to the public upon request. An investor who submits an Investor Complaint or Investor Question Form may requestthat his information not be released to the public by writing a letter asking that it remain confidential under one of the exemptions described in FOIA (see 5 U.S.C. 552). The SEC determines whether the investor's claim of an exemption if valid when someone requests the investor's information under FOIA. The SEC often makes it files available to other governmental agencies, particularly United States Attorneys and state prosecutors. There is a likelihood that information supplied by investors will be made available to such agencies where appropriate. Whether or not the SEC makes its files available to other governmental agencies is, in general, all confidential matter between the SEC and such other governmental agencies. An agency may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required to respond to, a collection of information unless it displays a currently valid control number.
General comments regarding the above information should be directed to the following persons: (i) Desk Officer for Securities and Exchange Commission, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget, Room 10102, New Executive Office Building, Washington, DC 20503; and (ii) Michael E. Bartell, Associate Executive Director, Office of Information Technology, Securities and Exchange Commission, 450 Fifth Street, NW., Washington, DC 20549. Comments must be submitted to OMB within 30 days of this notice.Dated: October 20, 2000. Margaret H. McFarland, Deputy Secretary.