Priority Open Recommendation: Securities and Exchange Commission

GAO-21-504PR Published: May 04, 2021. Publicly Released: May 11, 2021.
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Fast Facts

Each year, we make more than 1,000 recommendations to help improve the federal government. We alert department heads to the recommendations that can save the most money, address issues on our High Risk List, or significantly improve government operations.

Since our previous letter in April 2020, the Securities and Exchange Commission has implemented one of our priority recommendations. This report outlines our remaining priority open recommendation for the SEC as of May 2021.

Specifically, we recommended that SEC improve the credibility of its performance management system, including the ratings, recognition, and feedback that staff receive.

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What GAO Found

In April 2020, GAO identified two priority recommendations for the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Since then, SEC has implemented one of these recommendations, and the other remains open. The open priority recommendation relates to performance management for SEC employees. Specifically, it would help enhance the credibility of SEC's performance management system among its staff, including the ratings, recognition, or feedback that they receive as a result. SEC's continued attention to this issue could lead to significant improvements in government operations. We are not adding any additional priority recommendations this year.

Why GAO Did This Study

Priority open recommendations are the GAO recommendations that warrant priority attention from heads of key departments or agencies because their implementation could save large amounts of money; improve congressional and/or executive branch decision making on major issues; eliminate mismanagement, fraud, and abuse; or ensure that programs comply with laws and funds are legally spent, among other benefits. Since 2015 GAO has sent letters to selected agencies to highlight the importance of implementing such recommendations.

For more information, contact Michael Clements at (202) 512-8678 or

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