Secs. 19, 28, 48 Stat. 85, 901, as amended, sec. 319, 53 Stat. 1173; secs. 38, 211, 54 Stat. 841, 855; 15 U.S.C. 77s, 77sss, 78w, 80a-37, and 80b-11.
25 FR 6725, July 15, 1960, unless otherwise noted.
200.50 — Authority.
The Canons of Ethics for Members of the Securities and Exchange Commission were approved by the Commission on July 22, 1958.
200.51 — Policy.
It is characteristic of the administrative process that the Members of the Commission and their place in public opinion are affected by the advice and conduct of the staff, particularly the professional and executive employees. It shall be the policy of the Commission to require that employees bear in mind the principles specified in the Canons.
200.52 — Copies of the Canons.
The Canons have been distributed to employees of the Commission. In addition, executive and professional employees are issued copies of the Canons upon entrance on duty.
200.53 — Preamble.
(a) Members of the Securities and Exchange Commission are entrusted by various enactments of the Congress with powers and duties of great social and economic significance to the American people. It is their task to regulate varied aspects of the American economy, within the limits prescribed by Congress, to insure that our private enterprise system serves the welfare of all citizens. Their success in this endeavor is a bulwark against possible abuses and injustice which, if left unchecked, might jeopardize the strength of our economic institutions.
(b) It is imperative that the members of this Commission continue to conduct themselves in their official and personal relationships in a manner which commands the respect and confidence of their fellow citizens. Members of this Commission shall continue to be mindful of, and strictly abide by, the standards of personal conduct set forth in its regulation regarding Conduct of Members and Employees and Former Members and Employees of the Commission, which is set forth in subpart M of this part 200, most of which has been in effect for many years, and which was originally codified in 1953.
(c) However, in addition to the continued observance of those principles of personal conduct, it is fitting and proper for the members of the Commission to restate and resubscribe to the standards of conduct applicable to its executive, legislative and judicial responsibilities.
[25 FR 6725, July 15, 1960, as amended at 31 FR 13533, Oct. 20, 1966]
200.54 — Constitutional obligations.
The members of this Commission have undertaken in their oaths of office to support the Federal Constitution. Insofar as the enactments of the Congress impose executive duties upon the members, they must faithfully execute the laws which they are charged with administering. Members shall also carefully guard against any infringement of the constitutional rights, privileges, or immunities of those who are subject to regulation by this Commission.
200.55 — Statutory obligations.
In administering the law, members of this Commission should vigorously enforce compliance with the law by all persons affected thereby. In the exercise of the rulemaking powers delegated this Commission by the Congress, members should always be concerned that the rulemaking power be confined to the proper limits of the law and be consistent with the statutory purposes expressed by the Congress. In the exercise of their judicial functions, members shall honestly, fairly and impartially determine the rights of all persons under the law.
200.56 — Personal conduct.
Appointment to the office of member of this Commission is a high honor and requires that the conduct of a member, not only in the performance of the duties of his office but also in his everyday life, should be beyond reproach.
200.57 — Relationships with other members.
Each member should recognize that his conscience and those of other members are distinct entities and that differing shades of opinion should be anticipated. The free expression of opinion is a safeguard against the domination of this Commission by less than a majority, and is a keystone of the commission type of administration. However, a member should never permit his personal opinion so to conflict with the opinion of another member as to develop animosity or unfriendliness in the Commission, and every effort should be made to promote solidarity of conclusion.
200.58 — Maintenance of independence.
This Commission has been established to administer laws enacted by the Congress. Its members are appointed by the President by and with the advice and consent of the Senate to serve terms as provided by law. However, under the law, this is an independent Agency, and in performing their duties, members should exhibit a spirit of firm independence and reject any effort by representatives of the executive or legislative branches of the government to affect their independent determination of any matter being considered by this Commission. A member should not be swayed by partisan demands, public clamor or considerations of personal popularity or notoriety; so also he should be above fear of unjust criticism by anyone.
200.59 — Relationship with persons subject to regulation.
In all matters before him, a member should administer the law without regard to any personality involved, and with regard only to the issues. Members should not become indebted in any way to persons who are or may become subject to their jurisdiction. No member should accept loans, presents or favors of undue value from persons who are regulated or who represent those who are regulated. In performing their judicial functions, members should avoid discussion of a matter with any person outside this Commission and its staff while that matter is pending. In the performance of his rule-making and administrative functions, a member has a duty to solicit the views of interested persons. Care must be taken by a member in his relationship with persons within or outside of the Commission to separate the judicial and the rule-making functions and to observe the liberties of discussion respectively appropriate. Insofar as it is consistent with the dignity of his official position, he should maintain contact with the persons outside the agency who may be affected by his rule-making functions, but he should not accept unreasonable or lavish hospitality in so doing.
200.60 — Qualification to participate in particular matters.
The question in a particular matter rests with that individual member. Each member should weigh carefully the question of his qualification with respect to any matter wherein he or any relatives or former business associates or clients are involved. He should disqualify himself in the event he obtained knowledge prior to becoming a member of the facts at issue before him in a quasi-judicial proceeding, or in other types of proceeding in any matter involving parties in whom he has any interest or relationship directly or indirectly. If an interested person suggests that a member should disqualify himself in a particular matter because of bias or prejudice, the member shall be the judge of his own qualification.
200.61 — Impressions of influence.
A member should not, by his conduct, permit the impression to prevail that any person can improperly influence him, that any person unduly enjoys his favor or that he is affected in any way by the rank, position, prestige, or affluence of any person.
200.62 — Ex parte communications.
All proceedings required to be determined by the Commission on the record shall be determined by the members solely upon the record and the arguments of the parties or their counsel properly made in the regular course of such proceeding. A member shall at all times comply with the Commission's Code of Behavior governing ex parte communications between persons outside the Commission and decisional employees, § 200.110 et seq.
[28 FR 4446, May 3, 1963]
200.63 — Commission opinions.
The opinions of the Commission should state the reasons for the action taken and contain a clear showing that no serious argument of counsel has been disregarded or overlooked. In such manner, a member shows a full understanding of the matter before him, avoids the suspicion of arbitrary conclusion, promotes confidence in his intellectual integrity and may contribute some useful precedent to the growth of the law. A member should be guided in his decisions by a deep regard for the integrity of the system of law which he administers. He should recall that he is not a repository of arbitrary power, but is acting on behalf of the public under the sanction of the law.
200.64 — Judicial review.
The Congress has provided for review by the courts of the decisions and orders by this Commission. Members should recognize that their obligation to preserve the sanctity of the laws administered by them requires that they pursue and prosecute, vigorously and diligently but at the same time fairly and impartially and with dignity, all matters which they or others take to the courts for judicial review.
200.65 — Legislative proposals.
Members must recognize that the changing conditions in a volatile economy may require that they bring to the attention of the Congress proposals to amend, modify or repeal the laws administered by them. They should urge the Congress, whenever necessary, to effect such amendment, modification or repeal of particular parts of the statutes which they administer. In any action a member's motivation should be the common weal and not the particular interests of any particular group.
200.66 — Investigations.
The power to investigate carries with it the power to defame and destroy. In determining to exercise their investigatory power, members should concern themselves only with the facts known to them and the reasonable inferences from those facts. A member should never suggest, vote for, or participate in an investigation aimed at a particular individual for reasons of animus, prejudice or vindictiveness. The requirements of the particular case alone should induce the exercise of the investigatory power, and no public pronouncement of the pendency of such an investigation should be made in the absence of reasonable evidence that the law has been violated and that the public welfare demand it.
200.67 — Power to adopt rules.
In exercising its rule-making power, this Commission performs a legislative function. The delegation of this power by the Congress imposes the obligation upon the members to adopt rules necessary to effectuate the stated policies of the statute in the interest of all of the people. Care should be taken to avoid the adoption of rules which seek to extend the power of the Commission beyond proper statutory limits. Its rules should never tend to stifle or discourage legitimate business enterprises or activities, nor should they be interpreted so as unduly and unnecessarily to burden those regulated with onerous obligations. On the other hand, the very statutory enactments evidence the need for regulation, and the necessary rules should be adopted or modifications made or rules should be repealed as changing requirements demand without fear or favor.
200.68 — Promptness.
Each member should promptly perform the duties with which he is charged by the statutes. The Commission should evaluate continuously its practices and procedures to assure that it promptly disposes of all matters affecting the rights of those regulated. This is particularly desirable in quasi-judicial proceedings. While avoiding arbitrary action in unreasonably or unjustly forcing matters to trial, members should endeavor to hold counsel to a proper appreciation of their duties to the public, their clients and others who are interested. Requests for continuances of matters should be determined in a manner consistent with this policy.
200.69 — Conduct toward parties and their counsel.
Members should be temperate, attentive, patient and impartial when hearing the arguments of parties or their counsel. Members should not condone unprofessional conduct by attorneys in their representation of parties. The Commission should continuously assure that its staff follows the same principles in their relationships with parties and counsel.
200.70 — Business promotions.
A member must not engage in any other business, employment or vocation while in office, nor may he ever use the power of his office or the influence of his name to promote the business interests of others.
200.71 — Fiduciary relationships.
A member should avoid service as a fiduciary if it would interfere or seem to interfere with the proper performance of his duties, or if the interests of those represented require investments in enterprises which are involved in questions to be determined by him. Such relationships would include trustees, executors, corporate directors, and the like.
200.72 — Supervision of internal organization.
Members and particularly the Chairman of the Commission should scrutinize continuously its internal organization in order to assure that such organization handles all matters before it efficiently and expeditiously, while recognizing that changing times bring changing emphasis in the administration of the laws.
Confidential and Proprietary — for Use Solely by Authorized Personnel