On November 17, 2020, the SEC adopted a Final Rule – “Electronic Signatures in Regulation S-T Rule 302.” As you can read in the accompanying Press Release, the SEC is modernizing its signature requirements to accept electronic signatures for many filings.
This change was, at least partially, in response to this rulemaking petition by a group of law firms representing hundreds of public companies. The amendments “recognize the widespread use of electronic signatures and technological developments in the authentication and security of electronic signatures, as well as the continuing need to support remote workforces.”
The Final Rule makes changes to Regulation S-T and various forms for the Securities Act, Exchange Act and Investment Company Act. Under the new rules, a signatory to an electronic filing who follows certain procedures will be able to use an electronic signature to sign a signature page or other “authentication document.” The related procedures must meet specific requirements being added to the EDGAR Filer Manual.
The Final Rule will be effective when published in the Federal Register.
In a related change, the SEC is also amending its Rules of Practice to allow for filing and serving documents electronically.
As always, your thoughts and comments are welcome!