Washington D.C., Nov. 17, 2020 —
The Securities and Exchange Commission today voted to adopt rules and rule amendments that will provide additional flexibility in connection with documents filed with the Commission by permitting the use of electronic signatures in authentication documents, and facilitate electronic service and filing in the Commission’s administrative proceedings. These new rules and amendments are part of a series of initiatives designed to modernize and strengthen the agency’s operations.
In the first action, the Commission adopted rule amendments to permit the use of electronic signatures when executing authentication documents in connection with many documents filed with the Commission. Rule 302(b) of Regulation S-T currently requires that each signatory to an electronic filing manually sign a signature page or other document (“authentication document”) before or at the time of the electronic filing to authenticate the signature that appears in typed form within the electronic filing. Today’s amendments permit a signatory to an electronic filing who follows certain procedures to sign an authentication document through an electronic signature that meets certain requirements specified in the EDGAR Filer Manual. In addition, the Commission amended certain rules and forms under the Securities Act, Exchange Act, and Investment Company Act to allow the use of electronic signatures in authentication documents in connection with certain other filings when these filings contain typed, rather than manual, signatures. These amendments recognize the widespread use of electronic signatures and technological developments in the authentication and security of electronic signatures, as well as the continuing need to support remote workforces, and follow a rulemaking petition joined by nearly 100 public companies. The rule amendments will be effective upon publication of the adopting release in the Federal Register.
In the second action, the Commission adopted rule amendments to require electronic filing and service of documents in administrative proceedings. These rule amendments also require redaction of sensitive personal information from many of these documents before filing with the Commission. These amendments will become effective 30 days after publication of the adopting release in the Federal Register. However, compliance will not be required until April 12, 2021, and there will be an initial 90-day phase-in period following the compliance date.