What Is SEC Form 19b-4?

SEC Form 19b-4 is a form that is used to inform the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) of a proposed rule change by a self-regulatory organization (SRO) pursuant to Rule 19b-4 under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.

A self-regulatory organization is a non-governmental body that exercises some degree of regulatory authority over an industry or profession. Examples of SROs in the financial industry would include stock exchanges such as the New York Stock Exchange or Nasdaq, registered clearing agencies such as the Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation, and the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board.

Understanding SEC Form 19b-4

Self-regulatory organizations are required to file SEC Form 19b-4 with the SEC before making any changes to its rules, specifically with regard to trading rules. In the filing, the SRO must justify the new rules to SEC staff, making clear that the rule change supports fair trading markets, and provides investor protections and requisite oversight procedures.

A public comment period follows each 19b-4 filing whereby other exchanges and the public can voice support or opposition to the proposed rule change. All 19b-4 filings are made available on the SEC's Electronic Document Gathering, Analysis and Retrieval (EDGAR) system. Once the form is officially filed, the SEC review and approval or denial can take 90 days. The SEC staff will reject 19b-4 filings if any of the required information is excluded from the final filing.