Keeping the Markets Clear
A mission to protect
Unlike money deposited and protected in a bank, funds invested in securities are inherently at risk. To look before they leap, investors must have information that is timely, comprehensive, accurate and, most importantly, clear. It's the job of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to make sure they get it.
Models of clarity
Siegel+Gale has helped the SEC several times over many years to improve the clarity and usefulness of documents for investors. In 1999, we created models for profile prospectuses—a shortened form of disclosure intended to highlight the information that is essential to making an investment decision—which have since been widely adopted by the mutual fund industry. At the same time, we created the Plain English Handbook (still available at www.sec.gov), a primer on plain language and information design techniques for financial services companies.
More recently, the SEC again asked us to create models—this time for disclosure forms that focus on fees and conflicts of interest for mutual fund investors. After exploring alternative approaches, we conducted one-on-one interviews with investors to test comprehension and usability of the model disclosure—the type of true user testing that we consider to be the gold standard for the final stages of simplification. The model disclosure that we refined and validated based on investor testing was then distributed by the SEC for public comment.
Transparency breeds trust
A vibrant economy requires willing investors, and investors put money only in the companies they trust. In the words of former SEC chairman Arthur Levitt, Jr., "Companies that successfully communicate with their investors form stronger relationships with them." We've collaborated with the SEC for more than a decade to advance transparency initiatives that empower investors and encourage the flow of capital, and we look forward to continuing this mission in the years to come.Download PDF