DEFINITION of 'Confidential Treatment Order - CTO'
An order that provides confidential treatment for certain documents and information, that a company would otherwise have to file. A confidential treatment order (CTO) is issued by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and may only be in effect for a certain period of time, rather than indefinitely.
BREAKING DOWN 'Confidential Treatment Order - CTO'
Companies would typically seek a CTO in order to keep information that would otherwise put it at a disadvantage, a secret. For example, a company may apply for such an order to keep information regarding a pricing arrangement made with a partner, secret, since competitors finding out this information may go after the partner with a more competitive price.