Excerpted from The Washington Post article, “Extended shutdown of SEC could delay IPOs, ripple through market, experts warn”
The shuttering of the Securities and Exchange Commission during a prolonged government shutdown could ripple throughout the markets, including slowing some highly anticipated stock offerings by companies such as Uber and Lyft, securities experts say.
The agency provides day-to-day guidance to companies weighing what to disclose to shareholders and must sign off on most initial public stock offerings, or IPOs. Without this advice, companies may have to delay mergers, public offerings or even annual meetings, experts note.
The SEC, of course, has endured shutdowns before. Lynn Turner, a former chief accountant for the SEC, served during a brief shutdown in 1990 but said this time is different. “We were told not to go in for work, but people were not as concerned about it then,” said Turner, a senior adviser at the accounting firm Hemming Morse. “But I don’t think there was the level of uncertainty you have today.”
The shutdown has also left some companies in limbo awaiting key decisions. Johnson & Johnson, for example, has asked the agency to weigh in on whether it must allow its shareholders to vote on certain issues. The dispute is being closely watched throughout corporate C-suites and by investors, said Turner, the former SEC chief accountant.
But “there is no one at the SEC to give them that answer,” he said. “Until J&J can get that answer from the SEC, they can’t move forward.”