August 10, 2004

The SEC’s 5-Year Plan On

On Thursday, the SEC posted its five-year strategic plan, as required by the Government Performance and Results Act of 1993. The 59-page plan outlines broad strategies to accomplish what could be considered the SEC’s long-standing four goals: (1) enforce compliance with federal securities laws, (2) sustain an effective and flexible regulatory environment, (3) encourage and promote informed investment decision-making, and (4) maximize the use of SEC resources.

Most of the strategies outlined in the plan have been well-publicized over the past year as Chairman Donaldson has been making his mark. For example, the new Office of Risk Assessment is leading the way to implement the “doctrine of no surprises.” Another example is the SEC’s push to eventually utilize XBRL in an effort to upgrade EDGAR.

On the Corp Fin front, the transformation of the disclosure review process – including the criteria used for selection – is mentioned repeatedly. This transformation already has begun and is bound to evolve in the near term.

I am a fool for trivia and love all the factoids spread throughout the plan, such as 600,000 documents are filed annually through EDGAR and 18 million pages are contained in the 12,000 annual reports filed annually.

The SEC University

One of the more notable aspects of the 5-year plan is that the SEC is developing an online and in-person training program called the SEC University. One of the rationales for “SEC-U” (which is the abbreviation that the plan uses on page 48) is that 14% of the SEC’s managers are eligible to retire in 2005 – hence, the need to train new leaders. Corp Fin has conducted in-person training for years – but it will be interesting to see what type of online training the Staff develops.

50 Nuggets III

Join Alan Dye and I as we wind our way through 50 practice pointers in a webcast tomorrow – 50 Nuggets in 50 Minutes III.

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