SEC launches e-mail alert system

WASHINGTON: The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) launched an e-mail alert system on July 29 that is designed to provide transparency and get information to constituencies faster.

WASHINGTON: The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) launched an e-mail alert system on July 29 that is designed to provide transparency and get information to constituencies faster.

The system allows users to sign up to receive the latest SEC information on a schedule of their choosing, such as immediately, daily, or weekly. Alerts can also be sent to a user's mobile device.

Users also decide what information they would like to receive. Alerts range from “information for investors” to “rulemaking and regulatory action” to “public company accounting oversight board and self-regulatory organizations rulemaking.”

“It's a microcosm of what we do here at the SEC,” said Mark Story, director of new media at the SEC. Story took on this role in October 2008, after joining the SEC in January of last year working in investor assistance. “My job is to try and determine new ways to use new technology to provide information to the investing public and make the SEC more transparent.”

According to Story, the SEC gets millions of visits per month from all sorts of consumers, including investors, lawyers, and academics, all seeking different information. In its first week, about 2,000 people signed up for the e-mail alerts, even before the press release was issued. (Story says one will go out in within the next month.) In addition, the SEC will leverage its relationships with both traditional media and bloggers to raise awareness.

The alert system is just one of the ways Story said the SEC is using technology to reach its audiences. The commission has a Twitter account and a mobile site, in addition to its Web site. The SEC will also launch a site “devoted 100% exclusively to the American investor,” which will have parts available in Spanish, a first for the commission.

“We're trying to be responsive to the investing public,” said Story. “What we say and when we say it is extraordinarily important.”

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