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SEC Extends COVID-19 Reporting Relief for Investment Funds

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SEC COVID19

The SEC has extended a raft of relief measures aimed at companies, investment firms, and investment advisers, including providing funds more time to meet certain filing requirements. 

In a statement released on 25 March, SEC Chairman, Jay Clayon, said that ‘health and safety continues to be our first priority. These actions provide temporary, targeted relief to issuers, investment funds and investment advisers affected by COVID-19.’

As with the original order announced on 13 March, firms relying on the relief measures for an extension musty notify the SEC and investors of the intent to rely on the relief, but no longer need to describe why they’re relying on the relief or an estimated date by which they’ll be able to file or fulfill their regulatory requirements. 

The relief measures and new deadlines are as follows:

  • A registered fund and unit investment trust required to file a Form N-CEN or N-PORT under the Investment Company Act, is temporarily exempt from such filing requirements

The filing deadline has been extended to 30 June.

  • Registered funds and unit investment trusts are temporarily relieved from providing annual and semi-annual reports to investors under the Investment Company Act. 

The filing deadline has been extended to 30 June. 

  • The SEC will not not pursue SEC enforcement action if a registered fund doesn’t deliver to investors the current prospectus of the registered fund where the prospectus is not able delivered because of circumstances related to COVID-19. 

The Commission’s position has been extended to 30 June. 

  • Registered closed-end investment companies and business development companies are temporarily relieved from filing Form N-23C-2 at least 30 days prior to calling or redeeming securities.

The deadline has been extended to the period from (and including) the date of the original order to (and including) August 15, 2020. 

In a separate relief rule aimed at funds facing large redemptive stresses, the SEC said that mutual funds can rely on their parent asset management company or other affiliates for short-term funding. The rule will allow funds to obtain cash through collateralized loans until the end of June 30, in order to satisfy shareholder redemptions. 

Redemptions have picked up as a result of the recent COVID-19 crisis, with record bond outflows in recent weeks. In the US, several mortgage funds have suffered steep losses and heavy outlaws, and are now struggling to meet redemptions. Across the Atlantic, meanwhile, more than half a dozen UK property funds have suspended redemptions, while dozens of Nordic high yield funds have also gated.

The SEC’s latest moves on reporting come as other regulators, including the US Commodities Futures Trading Commission and Luxembourg’s Commission de Surveillance du Secteur Financier, have provided similar relief in recent days as firms’ face unprecedented operational challenges. Regulators will continue to closely monitor the situation.

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