Forefront Communications

Ignites: Glitchy SEC Systems Cause Filing Delays

Confluence

Alexandra Hamer

Alexandra Hamer

The Securities and Exchange Commission’s filing system keeps crashing on the days fund administrators rely on it most, causing headaches for reporting teams who are often left with no choice but to submit late regulatory reports.

“Staff want more and more information all the time,” says Jeanine Bajczyk, SVP and manager of regulatory administration at U.S. Bank Global Fund Services. “And we’re happy to comply, but you have to work with us.”

The SEC’s Edgar was down for 30 minutes on July 2 for “technical repair,” its website shows. That day was expected to be one of the regulator’s “peak filing dates,” according to its website.

“I’ve never seen them do that before,” notes Stephanie Tracey, director of operations at FilePoint, a Raleigh, N.C.-based vendor that provides Edgar filing services for 1,300 fund clients.

The agency also alerted clients to a technical issue on June 29, according to an e-mail sent by SEC Edgar Filer Communications. Similarly, on July 31, the SEC’s Edgar page had a banner that alerted filers of technical difficulties. The message briefly signaled when the issue was resolved, before being removed completely.

“We’ve had multiple month-ends where we’re all seeing problems,” Bajczyk says. U.S. Bank, Donnelley Financial Solutions and State Street together account for roughly half of all Edgar fund filings, she adds.

On the last day of the month, many funds must submit monthly reports, like Form N-PORT and Form N-CEN.

Oftentimes, the agency’s infrastructure gets overwhelmed on peak filing days, she adds. Edgar’s website warns filers to be conscious of the dates that tend to be busiest, and instructs reporting teams to “plan their filings accordingly.”

But that’s a tall task, Bajczyk notes, given that the SEC lists 53 time frames, some of which span multiple days, when it expects a large volume of submissions.

“We know the peak filing days, but what are you doing about it?” she says. “That’s on you, not us.”

Fund processing firms Broadridge and Toppan Merrill have also experienced delays in recent weeks, spokespeople tell Ignites.

Many teams have to wait until filing day to submit reports, in case anything happens that should be documented on the forms, says Tom Pfister, VP of global strategy at Confluence, a vendor that works to automate the process of creating and filing regulatory reports.

“They want to have as much time to review them as possible,” before they submit final versions of the reports, he adds.

Confluence’s clients have had trouble connecting to Edgar over the past two months, Pfister says. That created bottlenecks for many employees who manually execute tasks on the platform, he says.

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