The U.S. securities markets are open for business, but their top cop continues to be shuttered.

Callers dialing into the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Washington, D.C., headquarters hear the following recording: “Due to the lapse in the preparation by the federal government, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is currently closed. Monitoring of any voice messages during the closure will be limited, but you may leave a message if you wish to do so.”

With the partial shutdown of the federal government in its 17th day, the SEC’s closure is bedeviling anyone who has business at the agency, including attorneys who work with investment advisors.

“To say the least, this is extremely confusing, frustrating and potentially harmful for those who have business before the commission,” said David Tittsworth, a partner with Ropes & Gray LLC, Washington, D.C.

“As far as I know, the staff is not responding to any non-emergency questions,” said Tittsworth, former president and CEO of the Investment Adviser Association. 

“Until funding to the agency is restored, all non-emergency questions, filings and proceedings at the SEC are in a state of limbo. There are pending registrations, requests for exemptive relief and a host of other matters that simply are not being addressed during the shutdown,” Tittsworth said.

The SEC’s Division of Investment Management, which oversees registered investment advisors, said in a statement posted on the SEC’s website that “due to the government shutdown, the Division of Investment Management will not be available to respond to any questions about pending matters. ... During the shutdown, the division will not be in a position to act upon any requests for acceleration of the effective date of a pending registration statement or qualification of a pending offering statement until the SEC receives appropriations to fund its operations. Investment companies can continue to make filings on EDGAR during this time."

A significant percentage of filings submitted by registered investment companies are in the form of post-effective amendments to registration statements, which become effective automatically either immediately upon filing or following the passage of a certain number of days. These filings will become effective automatically after the entire time period set forth in the applicable rules until the SEC returns to open and operational status, the agency said.

A limited number of staff members are available to answer questions relating to fee calculations for filings, the SEC said. If you require assistance in calculating a fee for a filing you will make during the shutdown period, the agency is taking questions at: [email protected].

“We will follow the procedures set forth by the Division of Corporation Finance as applicable, with regard to the acceleration of initial registration statements and other types of filings made by registered investment companies during the federal government shutdown. Please direct questions about individual filings to Christian Sandoe (202-551-6949),” the SEC post said.

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