Priority Open Recommendations: Securities and Exchange Commission

GAO-22-105604 Published: Jun 17, 2022. Publicly Released: Jun 24, 2022.
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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 where they can save the most money, address issues on our High Risk List, or significantly improve government operations.

This report outlines our 3 priority open recommendations for the Securities and Exchange Commission as of May 2022. For example, we recommended ways the SEC can improve how it protects securities investors and maintains the securities market.

Since our previous letter in May 2021, SEC implemented 1 of our priority recommendations.

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What GAO Found

In May 2021, GAO identified one priority recommendation for the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Since then, SEC has implemented this recommendation, which 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.

We are also adding 3 new priority recommendations, which relate to SEC's oversight of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. We recommended that SEC develop and implement: 

  • performance measures that reflect leading practices, including measuring progress in achieving SEC's mission
  • policies and procedures for tracking identified deficiencies and associated corrective actions, and 
  • procedures to identify the significance of SEC's inspection and examination findings.

SEC's continued attention to these issues could lead to significant improvements in government operations.

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 Dan Garcia-Diaz at (202) 512-8678 or

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