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S&P Dow Jones receives Wells notice from SEC

A screen displays the Dow Jones Industrial Average after the close of trading on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., March 19, 2020. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

(Reuters) - S&P Dow Jones Indices, one of the largest index providers for exchange-traded funds, has received a Wells notice from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), a filing by New York-based financial-data agency S&P Global showed.

The Wells notice was issued to the index provider for failing to provide sufficient disclosures on some volatility-related indexes in 2018, according to the filing from Tuesday.

The SEC is planning to file an enforcement action against the index provider, a joint venture between S&P Global and exchange operator CME Group, the filing said.

“The proposed action would allege violations of federal securities laws with respect to the absence of disclosure of a quality assurance mechanism and the impact of that mechanism on certain volatility related index values published on one business day in 2018,” S&P Global said in the filing.

“The Staff’s recommendation may involve a civil injunctive action, a cease and desist proceeding, disgorgement, pre-judgment interest and civil money penalties.”

A Wells notice does not necessarily mean the SEC will bring any action against the company or that the recipient has violated any law.

“S&P Dow Jones Indices has established rigorous processes to maintain the transparency and integrity of our benchmark determination process, and protect the independent governance and quality of our indices,” an S&P spokeswoman said in an email.

Reporting by Anirban Sen in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli

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