How a shutdown could hurt Wall Street's top regulator

If Congress doesn't reopen the government soon, investors will lose part of the critical safety net that protects the...

Posted: Jan 22, 2018 10:36 AM
Updated: Jan 22, 2018 10:36 AM

If Congress doesn't reopen the government soon, investors will lose part of the critical safety net that protects their trades and funds.

The Securities and Exchange Commission, which is in charge of regulating Wall Street, may have to furlough workers, suspend some investigations and even postpone stock market debuts.

That's according to the agency's contingency plan for working through a government shutdown. The latest one began Saturday after Congress failed to pass a spending bill.

Such measures would be a first for the agency, which has been able to work at full force during previous government shutdowns.

But that's because most of those shutdowns happened in the fall, when the SEC still had money on hand from the previous year.

For example, during the fall 2013 shutdown, the agency said it had enough cash to stay open for "several weeks," according to the Wall Street Journal.

This time, though, the SEC said on its website that it would be able to "remain open for a limited number of days."

Related: USAA offers military members no-interest loans during the shutdown

A spokesperson declined to say exactly how much money the agency has on hand, or how long the SEC can keep operating normally without a new appropriation.

According to the SEC's plan, it would have to furlough all employees deemed "non-essential." As few as 300 of the more than 4,000 employees would keep coming to the office, according to the plan.

The skeleton staff "will attempt to respond to certain critical matters, including allegations of ongoing fraud and misconduct," the plan says.

Related: What's happening at the IRS during the shutdown

For example, the SEC will monitor tips and complaints, and it will deal with "ongoing litigation that cannot be deferred."

But the plan adds that there would be "only a limited number of staff on duty to perform critical functions."

One possible casualty: initial public offerings. If a backlog of pre-IPO paperwork piles up, that could delay plans for some companies to go live on the stock market.

Meanwhile, the SEC's online tool for accessing financial disclosure forms likely won't be affected.

The website, Edgar, is operated through a contractor. SEC's plan says it would "remain fully functional as long as funding for the contractor remains available." The SEC typically signs multi-year contracts for Edgar, so the site isn't likely to go offline anytime soon.

New routine financial disclosure forms would continue to show up on the site. But anything that requires the SEC staff to review, such as IPO paperwork, will not be processed.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 159036

Reported Deaths: 3879
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto10563104
Hinds10414204
Harrison7397113
Jackson6655128
Rankin6057107
Lee540396
Madison5120107
Forrest394786
Jones376188
Lauderdale3663147
Lafayette341053
Washington3321108
Lamar301950
Oktibbeha255262
Lowndes252867
Bolivar248084
Panola237353
Neshoba2280122
Marshall225051
Leflore211191
Monroe209778
Pontotoc208131
Lincoln200566
Sunflower194155
Warren183058
Tate180451
Union172926
Copiah170840
Pike166760
Scott161330
Yazoo161340
Itawamba159936
Alcorn159328
Pearl River158969
Coahoma155943
Prentiss154931
Simpson154053
Adams147252
Grenada145445
Leake141844
Holmes134461
Covington130040
Tippah130030
George129525
Winston128726
Hancock127641
Wayne123024
Attala122834
Marion121447
Tishomingo114043
Chickasaw110732
Newton110529
Tallahatchie99427
Clay96127
Clarke94853
Jasper87023
Stone82015
Calhoun79513
Walthall79330
Montgomery78426
Carroll75515
Lawrence74614
Smith74216
Yalobusha74228
Noxubee73317
Perry68726
Tunica63019
Greene62422
Jefferson Davis59617
Claiborne59216
Amite57615
Humphreys55219
Quitman5107
Benton50418
Kemper48018
Webster47714
Wilkinson40722
Jefferson38312
Choctaw3637
Franklin3635
Sharkey32917
Issaquena1214
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 256828

Reported Deaths: 3711
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson34214511
Mobile20299366
Madison13925150
Tuscaloosa13591156
Montgomery12659238
Shelby1095877
Baldwin9163137
Lee792566
Morgan710851
Etowah677467
Calhoun6695121
Marshall665757
Houston548239
DeKalb504738
Cullman472043
St. Clair451857
Limestone447546
Lauderdale436054
Elmore427564
Walker3818111
Talladega374457
Jackson350723
Colbert336443
Blount310043
Autauga287342
Franklin259734
Coffee254115
Dale242054
Dallas232932
Chilton230841
Russell22813
Covington227934
Escambia206131
Tallapoosa189191
Chambers185950
Pike162214
Clarke161819
Marion146136
Winston141924
Lawrence135336
Pickens127720
Geneva12638
Marengo125224
Bibb123938
Barbour120629
Butler118842
Randolph105922
Cherokee105524
Hale99732
Fayette96316
Clay93525
Washington93319
Henry8946
Monroe83811
Lowndes82129
Cleburne79914
Macon76522
Crenshaw72930
Conecuh72414
Lamar7138
Bullock70919
Perry6927
Wilcox64918
Sumter58922
Greene44218
Choctaw43519
Coosa3724
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