Senators Collins and King Applaud SEC Decision to Delay Proposal Requiring Investors to Opt In to Receive Financial Information in Paper Form

Senators Collins and King Worked to Protect the Accessibility of Financial Reports and Disclosures from Mutual Funds

Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senators Susan Collins and Angus King released the following statement today on the recent announcement that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has decided to not pursue a proposed rule at this time that would have required individuals to opt in to receive mutual fund information in paper form. Senators Collins and King have strongly advocated to keep paper as the default delivery method for financial disclosures. 

“For our nation’s seniors, rural consumers, individuals with disabilities, and those without reliable Internet access, receiving paper disclosures is critical to ensuring that they can accurately track their investments,” said Senators Collins and King in a joint statement. “The SEC’s misguided proposal would make it inconvenient and more difficult for many Americans who rely on mailings for their personal investment information, reports, and disclosures. We are encouraged that the Commission appears to have heard the concerns we expressed, along with advocacy groups like AARP, and is delaying final action on the proposal. We will continue to support Maine’s consumers and paper industry workers and press for paper as the default delivery method for these important financial reports, the format most consumers prefer.”

During the SEC’s comment period on its proposed rule, which was issued in May 2015, the agency received 965 public comments, 92 percent of which were in opposition to the rule. AARP, Twin Rivers Paper Company, which has a mill in Madawaska, Maine, and other important stakeholders also expressed their opposition to the proposed rule.

In November of 2015, Senators Collins and King joined Senators John Boozman and Debbie Stabenow in sending a bipartisan letter to Mary Jo White, the Chair of the SEC, urging her to reconsider the agency’s proposed rule. In addition, in August of 2015, Senators Collins and King joined Representative Bruce Poliquin in writing a letter to Chair White requesting that the proposed rule be open for comment for an additional 90 days.

In June, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved a provision authored by Senators Collins that would ensure that paper remains the default delivery method for financial disclosures. Senator Collins, the Chairman of the Senate Aging Committee, expressed concern that the proposed rule would harm seniors who may not be able to access electronic information or may be more comfortable reviewing financial information in paper form.