On September 26, the Securities and Exchange Commission announced a new Web-based initiative called the “Public Alert: Unregistered Soliciting Entities” or “PAUSE” program designed to provide retail investors with timely relevant information to help them avoid questionable investment solicitations.

Through its PAUSE program, the SEC will post on its website factual information about unregistered soliciting entities that have been the subject of complaints forwarded by investors and others, including foreign securities regulators.

Before posting information about the entities, SEC staff will have determined either: (i) that there is no U.S. registered securities firm with that name, or (ii) that there is a U.S. registered securities firm with the same (or a similar) name but the solicitations are coming from people not affiliated with the registered entity. A second PAUSE list will name fictitious governmental agencies and international organizations referred to by the entities that are subjects of complaints.

The SEC is seeking public comments on the PAUSE program and will be accepting comments for 30 days.