On December 21, 2015, the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Division of Trading and Markets granted no-action relief that will allow broker-dealers and over-the-counter (OTC) derivatives dealers to submit their annual and supplemental reports (as required under SEC Rule 17a-5 and SEC Rule 17a-12, respectively) electronically via the SEC’s Electronic Data Gathering, Analysis and Retrieval system (EDGAR). Such reports previously were required to be submitted to the SEC in paper form.

Reporting firms should take care to follow the reporting instructions that accompany the no-action relief. Notably, while the oath or affirmation required under Part III of Form X-17A-5 can now be made electronically, reporting firms are required to make an original notarized paper copy of such oath or affirmation and retain it for six years (the first two of which it should be in an easily accessible location).

Furthermore, it should be noted that, while OTC derivatives dealers may request that all components of their annual reports be kept confidential, broker-dealers that are not OTC derivatives dealers may not request that certain components of their annual reports (i.e., the statement of financial condition and accompanying notes and accountant’s reports) be kept confidential. Such components will be made public on EDGAR immediately after the broker-dealer files its annual report.

A copy of the no-action letter and reporting instructions can be found here.