SEC Approves Regulatory Relief and Assistance for Hurricane Katrina Victims


Washington, D.C., Sept. 15, 2005 — The Securities and Exchange Commission today issued an order providing emergency regulatory relief to investors, companies, and securities firms affected by Hurricane Katrina.

“Every individual affected by Katrina should know that Uncle Sam is working to help them get access to their savings,” said SEC Chairman Christopher Cox. “The SEC has reached out in the disaster areas to every public company and every investment adviser, in order to solve problems, eliminate regulatory hurdles, and help re-connect them with their customers.”

The storm and its aftermath have resulted in a lack of communications, facilities, and available staff and professional advisors that could hamper the efforts of public companies and other persons in the affected areas in their compliance with filing deadlines. In addition, the conditions in the areas affected by Hurricane Katrina, including displacement of hundreds of thousands of individuals and the destruction of property, have prevented and will continue to prevent the delivery of mail to the region.

To address compliance issues caused by Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath, the order conditionally exempts affected persons from the requirements of the federal securities laws with regard to the following:

In addition, the Commission has directed the staff to take the following positions under the Exchange Act, the Securities Act and the Investment Advisers Act with regard to issues that may arise commonly for companies and other persons attempting to comply with their obligations under the federal securities laws.

The relief that the Commission is providing today is structured to address the needs of the broadest class of companies and other affected persons. The Commission is aware that some companies and other affected persons will require additional or different assistance in their efforts to comply with the requirements of the federal securities laws. In this regard, the Commission realizes that in a limited number of cases, companies may have difficulty completing their audits or complying with the internal control requirements adopted pursuant to Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002. Commission staff will address these and any disclosure-related issues on a case-by-case basis in light of their fact-specific nature.

Any companies, transfer agents, registered investment companies, registered investment advisers, security holders, or other persons requiring additional assistance are encouraged to contact Commission staff for individual relief or interpretive guidance. For this purpose, the Commission has established both telephone and e-mail hotlines to provide immediate responses to questions or to hear from those that want to advise the Commission of their needs.