CAT gets pushed back so that firms can focus on business continuity during pandemic

Broker-dealers (BDs) got some relief as they make their final preparations to hit the reporting deadline for the US Securities and Exchange Commission’s Consolidated Audit Trail (CAT). On March 17, the SEC released a no-action letter saying that it will not enforce imminent CAT implementation deadlines, the next being April 20 when BDs would have had to submit data to CAT on trades on behalf of all clients. The letter runs through May 20 but could be extended. It made clear that this is to allow total focus on issues related to maintaining business continuity while firms deal with the fallout from being required to work from home to fight the COVID-19 virus.

“To allow firms to maintain focus on operational readiness and reduce operational risk, we are issuing this no-action letter so that personnel who are working on CAT matters but are important to maintaining critical operations and implementing business continuity plans can focus their attention on those immediate needs,” stated Brett Redfearn, the SEC’s trading and markets division director, in the letter to the CAT NMS operating committee. 

For firms that have completed the required production readiness certifications and are ready to begin reporting from April 20, the CAT will be ready to accept reports as previously scheduled.