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SEC Enforcement Targets May Get Leeway Over Virus, Peikin Says (Corrected)

March 6, 2020, 5:13 PM; Updated: March 9, 2020, 3:53 PM

Firms under investigation by the SEC may be given some leeway on deadlines due to the coronavirus outbreak, one of the agency’s top enforcement officials said.

The Securities and Exchange Commission’s Enforcement Division will try to be “flexible” with firms that may seek more time to comply with its directives if the virus is affecting them, office Co-Director Steven Peikin said Friday.

His remarks at an Investment Adviser Association conference in Washington came after the SEC announced March 4 it would give companies extra time to meet their filing deadlines for public disclosures.

“We’re in uncharted territory here,” he said. “We don’t know what is going to happen tomorrow, two weeks from now.”

Peikin told reporters on the sidelines of the conference he hadn’t heard of any firms requesting extensions yet. But enforcement lawyers already have moved at least one in-person interview to a telephone conversation to accommodate health concerns, he said.

The co-director said the SEC has “robust” remote-access capabilities for its employees, though he declined to elaborate on how many division members could work from home without significant disruptions.

Peikin also wouldn’t discuss what steps his division would take if one of its staffers contracted the virus.

“We’re just taking it on a day-to-day basis,” he said.

(Corrects spelling of Steven Peikin's name in headline and removes reference to subpoena responses in first paragraph.)

To contact the reporter on this story: Andrew Ramonas in Washington at aramonas@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Michael Ferullo at mferullo@bloomberglaw.com; Seth Stern at sstern@bloomberglaw.com

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