The federal securities laws authorize the SEC, or any officer designated by the SEC, to issue subpoenas requiring a witness to provide documents and testimony under oath. See, Section 19(c) of the Securities Act, Section 21(b) of the Securities Exchange Act, Section 209(b) of the Advisers Act, and Section 42(b) of the Investment Company Act. The Commission designates members of the staff to act as officers of the Commission in an investigation by issuing a Formal Order of Investigation (“formal order”).
A person receiving a subpoena from the SEC should request a copy of the formal order, as it describes the investigation, and which Staff members are authorized to conduct the investigation.
- The request must be made by a person or counsel for a person who has been asked to furnish documents or testimony in the formal investigation for which the person is requesting a copy of the formal order.
- The request for a copy of the formal order must be in writing, addressed to the Assistant Director assigned to the investigation