SEC’s Division of Corporation Finance Levels of Review
Posted by Laura Anthony, Esq. on April 18, 2018
SEC’s Division of Corporation Finance Levels of Review- There are three basic levels of review. A review by CorpFin can be a “full review” in which CorpFin will review a filing from cover to cover, including both legal and accounting aspects and basic form for compliance with the federal securities laws. A partial review may include either legal or accounting, but generally a partial review is related to financial statements and related disclosures, including Management Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations, and is completed by CorpFin accounting staff. A review may also be a targeted review in which CorpFin will examine the filing for one or more specific items of disclosure. Moreover, although not a designated level of review, CorpFin sometimes “monitors” a filing, which is a term used for a light review.
Reviewers are appointed files based on industry sectors. CorpFin has broken down its reviewers into the following 11 broad industry sectors: healthcare and insurance; consumer products; information technologies and services; natural resources; transportation and leisure; manufacturing and construction; financial services; real estate and commodities; beverages, apparel and mining; electronics and machinery and telecommunications. Each industry office is staffed with an assistant director and approximately 25 to 35 professionals, primarily accountants and lawyers. Each filing has more than one reviewer with a frontline contact person and supervisor. A full review file will have an accounting and legal reviewer as well as a supervisor.
Internally at CorpFin, a file will have a reviewer and an examiner. The examiner conducts an initial review and recommends comments to the reviewer. The reviewer may accept the examiner’s work, add comments or remove proposed comments. In addition, other CorpFin support offices may propose comments for a particular company. Each participant in the process is required to keep detailed notes and reports and upload the information into an internal workstation.
Neither the SEC nor the CorpFin evaluates the merits of any transaction or makes an assessment or determination as to whether a transaction or company is appropriate for any particular investor or the marketplace as a whole. The purpose of a review is to ensure compliance with the disclosure requirements of the securities laws. In that regard, CorpFin may ask for increased risk factors and clear disclosure related to the merits or lack thereof of a particular transaction, but they do not assess or comment upon those merits beyond the disclosure.