Open Recommendations (3 total)

Securities and Exchange Commission: Systematically Assessing Staff Procedures and Enhancing Control Design Would Strengthen Internal Oversight

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1 Open Recommendations
Agency Affected Recommendation Status
United States Securities and Exchange Commission The SEC Chair should direct the Directors of the Division of Corporation Finance, Division of Enforcement, Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations, and Office of Credit Ratings to develop written policies and processes to systematically assess the effectiveness of staff procedures (procedures applicable to staff who perform examinations of registered entities, enforcement investigations, and reviews of corporate financial securities filings). Examples of elements SEC could include in the policies and processes are the steps necessary to conduct such assessments, including time frames in which the assessments should be performed and reviewed; assignment of responsibilities related to the assessments; requirements for documenting assessments; and steps for staff to take to mitigate and report deficiencies identified as a result of the assessments. (Recommendation 1)
Open

Actions to satisfy the intent of the recommendation have not been taken or are being planned, or actions that partially satisfy the intent of the recommendation have been taken.

As of May 2020, SEC updated its Reference Guide for Compliance with Section 961 of the Dodd-Frank Act to require the Division of Corporation Finance, Division of Enforcement, Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations, and Office of Credit Ratings to develop and maintain written policies and processes for conducting systematic assessments of the effectiveness of procedures applicable to the staff who perform examinations of registered entities, enforcement investigations, and reviews of corporate financial securities filings. The added requirement for each division and office to develop policies and processes is a positive step toward addressing this recommendation. However, until the divisions and offices establish such policies and processes, this recommendation remains open. SEC staff stated that the divisions and offices are currently working on developing their individual frameworks for assessing staff procedures and will likely be done by the end of fiscal year 2020. We will continue to monitor these efforts.

Financial Services Regulations: Procedures for Reviews under Regulatory Flexibility Act Need to Be Enhanced

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1 Open Recommendations
Agency Affected Recommendation Status
United States Securities and Exchange Commission SEC should publicly disclose its section 610 reviews, or summaries of the reviews, with the basis for any conclusions. Such disclosure could include publishing results in the Federal Register or on the agency's website. (Recommendation 10)
Open

Actions to satisfy the intent of the recommendation have not been taken or are being planned, or actions that partially satisfy the intent of the recommendation have been taken.

In March 2019, SEC provided us with supplemental policies and procedures it developed for compliance with the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA), including section 610 reviews. The procedures require staff to publish on SEC's website a notice that section 610 reviews have been completed and, if the agency plans any further actions, a published RFA agenda would so indicate. Although these notices communicate with interested entities about the status of ongoing as well as completed section 610 reviews, they will not include any details about the basis for SEC's conclusions during the review. Therefore, they do not full implement GAO's recommendation, which remains open.

Securities and Exchange Commission: Improving Personnel Management Is Critical for Agency's Effectiveness

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1 Open Recommendations
1 Priority
Agency Affected Recommendation Status
United States Securities and Exchange Commission
Priority Rec.
Priority recommendations are those that GAO believes warrant priority attention from heads of key departments or agencies.
To help SEC address identified personnel management challenges, and to help enhance the credibility of its performance management system, the Chairman of SEC should direct the COO and OHR to conduct periodic validations (with staff input) of the performance management system and make changes, as appropriate, based on these validations.
Open

Actions to satisfy the intent of the recommendation have not been taken or are being planned, or actions that partially satisfy the intent of the recommendation have been taken.

SEC management and the union agreed in November 2018 to implement a new performance management system and a new incentive bonus program in 2020. According to SEC officials, SEC plans to work with OPM to validate the new performance management system by conducting focus groups with staff at the midpoint of the 2020 appraisal period and surveying staff on the new system at the conclusion of the 2020 appraisal period. These plans are consistent with our 2013 recommendation that SEC should conduct periodic validations of its performance management system. In August 2020, SEC reported that it began implementation of the new 2-tier performance management program and will complete the annual rating cycle in December 2020, with feedback and appraisal closeout activities occurring in early calendar year 2021. According to SEC, OPM will assess the new program after calendar year 2020 performance cycle activities are completed. We will continue to monitor SEC's progress in validating the new performance management system.