Over the past several weeks, the Securities and Exchange Commission (the SEC) and its staff (the Staff) have provided guidance and targeted, conditional, and temporary relief to investment companies and investment advisers. To ensure that the investment companies continue to meet their disclosure obligations amid the COVID-19 pandemic, on April 14, 2020, the Staff of SEC’s Division of Investment Management (the Division) issued a statement (the Statement) emphasizing the ongoing importance of updating and delivering required information to investors in a timely manner consistent with investment companies’ disclosure obligations, even during this period of operational challenge. Below are key takeaways from the Statement.
Updating Prospectuses and Financial Statements
The Staff reminds investment companies to update the information in their prospectuses, including the required underlying certified financial statements. In particular, for investment companies with a December 31 fiscal year end, as they approach May 1, 2020, according to the Staff, they may plan accordingly to ensure that they have updated their prospectuses in order to continue to sell shares to new investors and sell additional shares to existing investors.
The Staff also encourages investment companies to consider whether their disclosures, including risk disclosures, should be revised based on how COVID-19-related events may affect the investment company and its investments.
Delivering Information to Fund Investors
As part of its COVID-19 response efforts, the SEC has relaxed certain prospectus delivery requirements as long as certain conditions are met. With respect to sales of investment company shares to new purchasers, however, according to the Staff, investment companies must continue to deliver the fund’s prospectus or summary prospectus in a timely manner, based on the delivery preferences that have been expressed by the investor. Further, the Staff encourages investment companies to communicate with investors about their delivery preferences.
See our prior blog on additional information concerning the Division of Investment Management's response to COVID-19