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The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) kicked off its 75th anniversary this summer with a stab at overhauling its bureaucracy. The agency’s 21st Century Disclosure Initiative will involve a fundamental rethinking of the current system “viewed in the context not of 1934, but of today’s markets,” where information technology can vastly improve the quality and timeliness of disclosures, said SEC Chairman Christopher Cox speaking at Stanford University’s law school. “The overarching purpose… will be to maximize the ability of investors to use disclosure information more quickly, in a greater variety of ways, and at the level of detail they desire,” said Cox.

Leading the initiative is Dr. William D. Lutz, a plain-language expert and securities lawyer known for preparing the SEC’s Plain English Handbook. Lutz and an expert staff will review all SEC forms and reporting requirements–some as old as the SEC itself–as well as the steps registrants take to fulfill these requirements, with an eye to ending redundancy.

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