Description of Duties of the General Counsel
The Securities and Exchange Commission (Commission) is amending its description of the duties of the General Counsel to include preliminary investigations, in which no process is issued or testimony compelled, where it appears that an attorney appearing and practicing before the Commission may have violated Rule 102(e) of the Commission's Rules of Practice. The Office of the General Counsel of the Commission already has the authority to conduct Commission- authorized proceedings and formal investigations under Section 21 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (Exchange Act), including for violations by attorneys of Rule 102(e) of the Commission's Rules of Practice. An amendment of the description of the duties of the General Counsel to include preliminary investigations makes it clear that the General Counsel may gather evidence in Rule 102(e) cases without compulsory process where witnesses are willing to testify or provide information voluntarily. This amendment would enable the General Counsel to identify, through informal means, those matters that do not warrant full-blown investigation and compulsory process.